New changes to Washington elections take effect in July, and Washington is about to see a whole lot more registered voters. Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman says besides an earlier presidential primary, pre-paid ballot postage, as well as automatic and same-day voter registration, Washington voters will see a new, fully-integrated elections system.
Wyman said that since the 2019 legislative session ended, her office has been partnering with all 39 counties to develop VoteWA as a centralized voter registration and election management system that also processes candidate filings and manages petitions. It will be more secure and allow counties to compare voter registration data in almost-real time. The online interface will include an online voters’ guide and a results-reporting application, among a number of other great features. Watch for VoteWA to go live in the coming months at vote.wa.gov
Earlier Presidential Primary
Washington state’s Presidential Primary will now take place on March 10th, 2020 — more than two months earlier than in previous years. This means your vote will have a greater impact in selecting the final presidential candidates, and you’ll be more likely to hear directly from candidates about Washington state issues.
Pre-paid ballot-return envelopes
You won’t need a stamp when you vote, now that every ballot in every election will come with a pre-paid ballot-return envelope. With pre-paid postage, every mailbox is a drop box — so simply drop your ballot-return envelope into the mail before Election Day.
Automatic voter registration
Washington residents applying for an enhanced driver’s license or enhanced ID card with the Department of Licensing, will be automatically registered to vote. The same is true for applicants to Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange. If the applicant doesn’t want to be registered, he or she can always opt-out at the counter.
Be a #FutureVoter
16- and 17-year-old Washington state residents can now enroll in the Future Voter program to automatically become a registered voter after their 18th birthday. If a person turns 18 on or before August 6th, they can vote in the 2019 Primary. If a person turns 18 on or before November 5th, they can vote in this year’s General Election.
You have until eight days before an election to register online or by mail, but if you miss the deadline you can still visit your county elections office in person before 8 p.m. on August 6th to vote in the Primary, and before 8 p.m. on November 5th to vote in the General Election.