Washington Absentee Ballot Guide

Washington Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated May 04, 2014
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration: Postmarked the Monday four weeks before the election (by mail). Received the Monday one week before the election (in person)
  • Absentee Ballot Application:  No specific deadline for requesting an early ballot (all voters receive ballots via mail, beginning at least 18 days prior to the election). We recommend requesting your ballot at least one month before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot/Voted Ballots: Postmarked on or before Election Day

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

There are three ways to register to vote:

Recommended: If you have a Washington State driver's license, or a Washington State Identification card, you may register to vote online.

You can also use our Voter Registration Tool.  Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form. 

 NOTE: If you are already registered and need to change your mailing address, you can do so online with Washington's MyVote tool.

Verify your voter registration

It's best to double check your registration before applying for your absentee ballot. Verify your voter registration today and avoid problems down the line. If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Apply for your absentee ballot

All Washington voting is done by mail, and the ballots are mailed to registered voters at least 18 days before election.  This doesn't mean that Washington state doesn't offer absentee ballots.

If you need an absentee ballot mailed to a temporary address (if you are traveling or have a seasonal home): Update your seasonal address with your county elections department. Provide the first and last days you’ll receive mail at this address, and your county will send your ballot to this address each year between those dates.

You can also download and complete the Washington State Special Absentee Ballot Application.  Mail your completed application to your County Auditor. (NOTE: you cannot mail the request more than 90 days prior to the election.)

If you need all of your ballots mailed someplace other than your permanent Washington address: Use the Washington MyVote tool to update your mailing address.

Receive, complete, and return your absentee ballot

The ballot itself is pretty straightforward.  Complete it, seal it in the envelope, and sign where indicated.  Mail or hand-deliver your voted ballot to your County Auditor.  Your ballot must be postmarked by election day (if mailed), returned to a designated drop box by 8:00pm on Election Day, or returned in person to your County Elections Department by 8:00pm on Election Day 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot in Washington?

You do not need to provide ID if you have already voted in Washington at least once.  If you are voting for the first time in Washington and you did not provide adequate ID when you registered to vote, you need to include a copy of your ID with your absentee ballot application. 

Acceptable ID includes a valid photo ID such as a driver's license, state ID card, student ID card, or tribal ID card OR a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other current government document that shows your name and address.  (If you have not met the identification requirements, you will be notified by mail that you need to provide identification.)

Can I vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis in Washington?

Absolutely.  When you register to vote, you can indicate that your mailing address is different than your Washington residential address Washington Voter Registration Form.  If you're already registered, use the Washington MyVote tool to change your mailing address.

Can I vote in person before the election in Washington?

Yes.  Although voting is done by-mail, voters can still vote in-person if they wish to do so.  Check out our Early Voting page for details.

Additional Information

State Election Website: http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/
Email: [email protected]
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 

 

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