WA General Election voting kicks off this week

WA General Election voting kicks off this week


Washington’s General Election voting season gets under way in just a few days, with counties sending ballots to over 72,000 military and overseas voters around the globe.

Federal law provides extra transit time for military and overseas voters, with counties required to send out ballots 45 days before Election Day. This year, that’s Saturday, Sept. 24. A number of soldiers and others have also requested electronic versions. Still others use federal write-in ballots via the Federal Voting Assistance Program at FVAP.gov.

This year, about 49,500 of the early ballots are going out to military voters and about 22,600 to Washington voters living abroad, many on business or for missionary or Peace Corps service. The ballots can be voted right away. (Some of the FVAP ballots have already been voted and returned to counties.)

The rest of Washington’s 4.1 million voters will be mailed ballots in roughly four weeks. Many counties will begin to send out ballot packets on Oct. 19; Oct. 21 is the deadline to do so. To count, ballots must be returned by Nov. 8, either via free drop box or by mail with a postmark no later than Nov. 8.

Online and mail-in voter registration and updates will be accepted through Oct. 10.  In-person new registrations are welcome through Oct. 31.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said Washington always makes it a special point to give military and overseas voters great service. She said living abroad as a military wife gave her a first-hand experience that has stuck with her for her whole elections career: The California ballots for her and her Army Ranger husband John once arrived the day AFTER the election.

Wyman and state Elections Director Lori Augino have worked closely with the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Council of State Governments, Election Assistance Commission and other national groups on registration and voter services on the Washington military bases and abroad.

Says Augino:

“Washington has the third largest number of military and overseas voters in the country, so it’s a huge priority for us. We put out the red carpet.”


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