The League of Women Voters of Washington is a nonpartisan political organization committed to providing accurate information about elections through our work. We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.
The "Election Basics" that we are sharing were developed in consultation with the Washington Secretary of State and local elections officials across the state.
The right to vote is a fundamental principle of American democracy—but it hasn't always been available to everyone. Originally, only white male property owners were allowed to vote.
Studies have shown that non-citizens rarely attempt to vote in U.S. elections. The penalties for voting can be severe, including steep fines, imprisonment, and deportation.
Your ballot is mailed at least 18 days before each election. If you are a registered voter and do not receive your ballot, contact your county elections department.
Potential voters can register by mail or online until 8 days before an election. In those final 8 days, people can register in person.
16- and 17-year-olds can sign up as Future Voters and be automatically registered to vote when they become eligible. Turn 18 between the AUG Primary and the NOV General Election? You can vote in the Primary!
If you were convicted of a felony, your right to vote will be restored automatically as long as you are not currently serving a DOC sentence of total confinement in prison.
Backup audit trails or alarms warn of attempts to access any type of election machine, and these machines are never connected to the internet. WA state uses paper ballots which can be recounted to confirm results.
A central database tracks and records the receipt of each verified ballot. Multiple ballots are flagged and not counted. Only the first valid ballot received is verified and counted.
Observer training for volunteers differs from county to county. But it basically centers on this point: Observers observe and do not count or handle any processing.
State election officials say if you're concerned that your signature won't match, you should update your signature now at votewa.gov, before mailing in your ballot.