Although fervent politicking began weeks ago in races across the state, the official start of election season arrives Monday, with the beginning of Candidate Filing Week 2018.
From May 14-18, candidates for federal, state, and local offices from county commissioner to U.S. Senator must register with county elections offices or the Office of Secretary of State to get their names onto ballots for this year’s elections cycle.
The 596 races on this year’s Washington ballots include legislative races in every district (see which district you’re in here), three State Supreme Court seats, all 10 U.S. House of Representative spots, and one U.S. Senate race, along with 438 county and local offices.
In races that encompass more than one county, which includes legislative and judicial races, as well as all statewide offices, the state Elections Division will accept candidate filings starting Monday, May 14, online via vote.wa.gov or in person at the Office of Secretary of State in the Legislative Building in Olympia.
County election departments, which are listed at https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/auditors/, will handle all other filings.
While candidates could file via mail starting on April 30, it is recommended candidates who still need to submit paperwork do so either online or in person at the Capitol.
Candidates may file online with the Secretary of State’s office 24 hours a day, starting May 14 at 9 a.m. through May 18 at 4 p.m. To file online, a candidate must be a resident of the district in question with a valid email address, and must pay the filing fee with a credit card. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are all acceptable forms of payment.
To pay with cash, check, or money order, a candidate must file in person or via mail. The Office of Secretary of State in the Capitol will be open during normal weekday hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to handle filings May 14-18.
Monday, May 21, is the last day for a candidate to withdraw from the ballot.
Filing fees vary by office and are available for federal, state, and county offices at the Secretary of State’s page for Offices Open for Election.
“Representative democracy depends on public service. It is one of the cornerstones of our society,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman, whose office oversees elections. “Candidate Filing Week is the official beginning of the fall election cycle, when candidates formally apply to have their names placed on the ballot.”
The Secretary of State’s Elections Division website has guides including offices open for election this year with the required fees, a Filing FAQ, and a live listing of candidates who have already filed.