Washington General Election
Last update: Sep 20, 2023 01:03 a.m. EDT
Last update: Sep 19, 2023 05:04 a.m. UTC
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This election guide is researched, written, and updated by Democracy Works, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization, to inform voters via TurboVote and other partners. The information in these guides originates from official sources. The guides also link to authoritative state and local resources to provide additional information.
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48 days to Election Day!
- If you're an active registered voter, you should receive your ballot in the mail. If you don't receive your ballot, contact your local election office.
- Check that you're registered to vote on Washington's web site.
- You can return your ballot by mail or in person. Find where to return your ballot in person.
Can I register to vote online?
- Washington offers online voter registration.
- You should know: you need a Washington driver's license, permit, or state ID to use Washington's online voter registration. If you don't have a Washington-issued ID, you can still register to vote by mail or in person.
Can I submit voter registration forms by mail?
Use the National Voter Registration Form
- Print and fill out the National Voter Registration Form.
- Box 6 - ID Number: You must provide your Washington driver's license or state ID card number. If you do not have a Washington driver's license or state ID card, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. Failure to provide this information may prevent your registration from being processed.
- Box 7 - Choice of Party: Washington does NOT require that you register with a party to participate in partisan primary elections.
- Box 8 - Race or Ethnic Group: Leave blank. This information is not required.
- Review the "Who can register to vote?" section above and check that you're eligible.
- Sign the form.
- Send the completed form to your local election office
- If you are registering to vote for the first time in your jurisdiction and are mailing this registration application, Federal law requires you to show proof of identification the first time you vote. Proof of identification includes:
- A current and valid photo identification or
- A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address.
- More information here.
How do I vote by mail?
Washington conducts elections primarily by mail. If you are an active registered voter, then you can expect to receive a ballot in the mail. It will be sent to the mailing address you used to register to vote.
What should I do if I don’t get my ballot?
If you don’t receive your ballot in the mail, then contact your local election office.
How do I return my ballot?
- Read the instructions carefully on how to mark and return your ballot.
- You can return your ballot by mail or use a ballot drop box.
- Find a ballot dropbox near you.
- If you choose to return your ballot by mail, USPS recommends that voters mail their completed ballots at least one week before the due date. Find a USPS location near you.
What do I need to do if I’ve moved?
What’s on your ballot depends on where you live, so your voter registration is tied to your exact address. If you’ve moved, you need to re-register with your new address.
How can I check the status of my ballot?
You can check the status of your ballot on Washington’s site.
Can I submit voter registration forms in person?
- You can also register to vote in person. Contact your local election office for information on when and where to register to vote.
- You can also register to vote and cast a ballot in person on Election Day.
- Learn more by visiting the Washington Secretary of State's website or contacting your local election office.
Do I need to bring an ID to vote in person?
To vote in Washington state, you must have verified identification on file in your voter registration record. If you choose to vote in person and you are already registered to vote, you will need to sign a ballot declaration.
If you choose to vote in person and you are not yet registered, you will need to provide valid identification. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Washington state driver’s license
- Washington state ID card
- last four digits of Social Security number
If you are unable to provide one of these forms, you can provide one form of alternate ID. Acceptable forms of alternate ID include:
- valid photo ID
- valid enrollment card of a federally recognized tribe in Washington state
- copy of a current utility bill
- current bank statement
- copy of a current government check
- copy of a current paycheck
- government document, other than a voter registration card, that shows both your name and address (tribal ID does not require a residential address or expiration date)
How do I see what's on my ballot?
View your sample ballot on the Washington Secretary of State's website.
How do I get help registering to vote?
TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!
Who can register to vote?
To register in Washington you must:
- be a citizen of the United States
- be a legal resident of Washington State, your county and your precinct for 30 days immediately preceding the election in which you want to vote
- be at least 18 years old by election day (16- and 17-year-olds can sign up as Future Voters and be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18)
- not be disqualified from voting due to a court order
- not be currently serving a sentence of total confinement in prison under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections for a felony conviction in Washington State, another state, or in federal court
- not be currently incarcerated for a federal or out-of-state felony conviction
How do I vote if I'm in the military or live overseas?
Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA process is done by mail, but your state may offer other options to request and return ballots. Please contact your local election office for more information about delivery and return methods, including email, fax, and state online portals. To follow the FPCA process:
- Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your local election office may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
- Send the application to your local election office.
- It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible.
- Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it.
- States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.
If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your local election office first. Then:
- You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
- If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.
How can I check my voter registration status?
How do I contact my state election office?
Which election office should I contact?
- In Washington, your local election office runs the elections in your area. They can help you with questions about registering to vote, voting by mail, and local elections.
- The Secretary of State oversees elections and election administration in Washington. They can help you with questions about voting in your state, election security, or issues you might have at the polls. If you have concerns about voter intimidation, reach out immediately.
How do I contact my local election office?
Visit your state’s site to find your local election office.