February special election ballots have been sent to 1.6 million voters

February special election ballots have been sent to 1.6 million voters

Although not all of Washington’s voters reside in a district that’s having a local election in this cycle, 32 of Washington’s 39 counties are conducting elections for local districts, such as school bond issues.

Check our MyVote site to find out if you’re among the nearly 40 percent of registered Washingtonians who will receive a ballot for this election, the first of four scheduled for 2019. All ballots were mailed by Jan. 25, and the deadline to return them via mail or dropbox is Election Day, Feb. 12.

The counties that do not have any districts with elections in this cycle are Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, and Wahkiakum.

Here’s a quick explainer of this election’s place in our annual cycle:

Why do special elections occur?

A special election occurs when the County Auditor receives a resolution from a district calling for one. A district can call for a special election to vote on levies, bonds and other fiscal measures.

In addition, issues or races not regularly scheduled may appear on a special election ballot as well. Examples include levy lid lifts, annexations, changes to government structure and event advisory issues.

When are special elections held?

Washington has two set dates for special elections: the second Tuesday in February and the fourth Tuesday in April. They’re held only if a county or district submits an election issue to the County Auditor by the deadline specific to the election.

Will I need to use a stamp to mail my ballot back?

Because statewide prepaid ballot-return postage is a topic of pending legislation but has not yet become permanent, only some counties are able to provide this convenience to voters. Please inspect your return envelope to see if it is postage-paid, and if it isn’t, attach a stamp or use a free county ballot drop box. If you have questions, contact your county elections department.

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