Are you ready for the Nov. 3 General Election?

  • Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

As the Nov. 3 election approaches, we have been hearing from voters who are concerned about it. Your county election officials want to share what you can do to ensure that you are registered, will receive your ballot, can return your ballot and can be confident your ballot is counted.

In Washington state we have been voting by mail for more than 15 years. We are confident that our vote-by-mail system is safe, timely and secure ,and we are committed to making sure that your voices are heard.

Prepare now and make a vote plan. Make sure that you’re registered and that your address is correct. All registered voters will automatically receive a General Election ballot in the mail in mid-October.

If you are registered, you do not need to call us for a ballot. The deadline to register online is Oct. 26, and after that you must register in person.

Think ahead about how you’ll return your ballot. No postage needed – whether you return your voted ballot through the mail or use one of the hundreds of ballot dropboxes located throughout the region.

Visit VoteWA.gov to register to vote, to update your registration and to find the location of the nearest dropbox. VoteWA.gov and county elections websites are great resources for voters – utilize these tools to help ensure you are prepared for the election.

Stay home, stay safe

Washington voters have the pleasure and privilege of voting from home vs. standing in line for hours outside of polling places. Your ballot is delivered to your mailing address about two weeks in advance of the deadline.

For most voters, there is no need to vote in person. Keep yourself, your neighbors and your election workers safe by returning your ballot by mail or by dropping your ballot in a secure dropbox.

Don’t delay

Whether you return your ballot by mail or through a drop box – don’t wait until Nov. 3. Vote early to give yourself time to track your ballot and ensure it was counted, to avoid the last-minute crowds at dropboxes, and certainly to avoid lines on Election Day.

If you vote early, you will have plenty of time to fix any issues that might arise with your ballot like updating your signature if necessary.

An early vote also ensures that your votes are counted in Election Night results. There is no reason to wait – get your ballot — fill it out — and get it back to us.

Your vote is secure

Vote-by-mail is secure. Our state has layers of physical and cyber security measures in place to protect your vote and our elections. We work tirelessly, every election, to ensure a safe and secure voting process.

We cannot ignore that there is a lot of misinformation circulating about voter fraud. In Washington state, voter fraud rates are incredibly low and attempts at fraud are few and far between. We are all proud of our respective county’s security measures and multiple processes in place to prevent voter fraud.

We’re here for you

If you need assistance, your county elections office is ready to help. Don’t hesitate to call your county election office. We can likely assist you without you having to make a trip to the elections office or a Vote Center, especially if you make sure you’re already registered.

Fifteen years of vote-by-mail has prepared us well for this election. We have a strong partnership with the Postal Service, we’ve installed hundreds of dropboxes throughout our respective counties, and we’ve prepared and planned for this election for years.

We’re ready – it’s your turn to get ready too. Make your vote plan now so you can stay home and stay safe. Vote early and track your ballot so you can fix any issues and know that your ballot was counted. Your county election officials are committed to a safe and secure election. All you need to do is vote.

Paul Andrews, Kitsap County, and election officials from four other counties.

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