Submitted by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office
The U.S. Postal Service’s capacity to meet the increased service demand during mail-in elections this fall has been causing concern given President Donald Trump’s recent remarks about the lack of additional funding for the agency. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said despite concerns nationwide, Washington voters should rest assured that ballot delivery and return services should continue without significant delay or interruption this fall.
“In our decades-long experience with mail-in voting, we remain confident in our partnership with the U.S. Postal Service and its ability to continue delivering the same outstanding service to voters, the Office of the Secretary of State, and Washington’s 39 county election officials,” said Wyman.
“Politicizing these administrative processes is dangerous and undermines public confidence in our elections,” she added. “Washington voters should know that sending ballot material to millions of voters this fall is a routine operation of the U.S. Postal Service. Washington election officials have been working with the U.S. Postal Service for more than 20 years, and we believe we will receive the same level of quality service. Though it is imperative the agency maintain its functionality and efficiency, this volume of work is by no means unusual, and is an operation I am confident the U.S. Postal Service is sufficiently prepared to fulfill.”
Ballots for the upcoming general election will be sent to voters beginning 20 days before Election Day. As is standard practice, the initial mailing will be sent via USPS Marketing Mail at a nonprofit bulk rate, which is delivered between three to 10 days after it is received by the postal service. Closer to Election Day, counties will begin sending subsequent mailings, such as replacement ballots and ballot materials for newly registered voters, via First Class mail.
People may register to vote after the initial ballot mailing through Oct. 26 by visiting VoteWA.gov or by sending a paper form to their county elections office. Paper forms can be found at https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/print-voter-registration-forms.aspx and must be received no later than Oct. 26. Those who wish to register after Oct. 26 may visit their county elections office, where they can register and receive a printed ballot.
The USPS recommends that voters mail completed ballots a week before Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, Nov. 3. A late postmark could disqualify a ballot. The ballot return envelope, which is included in each voter’s ballot material, has prepaid postage.
Voters are also encouraged to use official drop boxes, which are open 24/7 during the voting period and close at 8 p.m. Nov. 3. There are nearly 450 ballot drop boxes statewide. Find drop box locations at VoteWA.gov.
More information about Washington elections can be found at sos.wa.gov/elections.