This blog post was written and researched by Isabell Liu, 2020 Voter Research & Engagement Intern. If you need to register to vote, you can do so easily via our website.
Why Should I Vote?
In the last presidential election, less than 2/3 of all American citizens eligible to vote casted their ballots to decide the most influential seat in the U.S. government.
This past March, less than half of all voting-eligible Washingtonians voted to select the top-two candidates for the upcoming presidential election on November 3.
Participation in the democratic process has always been vital to pushing for more just systems to benefit everyone–especially marginalized communities–living in the United States. But in the face of COVID-19, the inevitable socioeconomic consequences of statewide shutdowns and nationwide calls for racial justice, it’s more important than ever for all eligible voters to participate in determining the country’s next steps–via representatives and progressive policies–to ensure a safe, equitable recovery for all.
Who Am I Voting For?
This upcoming election period beginning on July 17 and ending on August 4 is a statewide primary, which will determine the top two candidates for the Washington state constitutional, U.S. congressional, and state legislative positions to advance to the general election on November 3.
This year, the President and Vice President of the United States, Washington Governor, State Senate, State House, and a number of other important state offices will all be up for reelection in November.
Am I Eligible to Vote?
To vote in the upcoming primary, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen;
- At least 18 years of age or older by Election day;
- A resident of Washington state;
- Not barred from voting by a court ruling; and
- Not currently under supervision by the Department of Corrections for a felony conviction in Washington state (If you were once convicted of a crime in Washington, you can register to vote again as soon as you have completed parole and probation. If you were convicted in federal court or another state and have since moved to Washington, you can register to vote again as soon as you are no longer incarcerated.)
View the Secretary of State’s website for more info.
How Do I Register?
Once you’ve made sure that you are eligible to vote in the state of Washington, you can then register online or by mail (with this registration form), as registering in-person at your local elections office is strongly discouraged given the current public health crisis.
All online and mail registrations must be received at least 8 days before Election Day. If you do choose to register in-person, you can do so anytime before 8 pm on August 4, Election Day.
How Do I Vote?
Washington state votes primarily by mail! Your ballot packet will be sent to you by July 17 at the address that you provided when you registered to vote (if you plan on voting in the August primary) or 18 days before each election.
In your packet, you’ll find a ballot, a secrecy envelope, a return envelope, and instructions that will tell you how to properly fill out each section to ensure that your vote will be counted.
All you have to do is place the marked ballot in the signed security envelope and slip it into your nearest U.S. Postal Service mailbox (all ballots have pre-paid postage), or drop off your ballot at one of these dropbox locations by 8 pm on August 4. You can then check the ballot status online at VoteWA.
If voting by mail, please remember that your ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day.
What if I Need Help With Voting?
Every county should have at least one screened and wheelchair accessible voting unit (AVU) 18 days until 8 pm on Election Day.
Anyone, except your employer or union representative, can assist you with filling out your ballot.
Voters with guardians may still be eligible to vote, depending on their guardianship papers. For more information on voter accessibility in Washington state, here is a helpful overview of the accommodations available to voters who need them.
We’re currently hard at work on our 2020 Voter Guide, which will be released in time for the general election in November! Check back soon.