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Spin Control

Posts tagged: voter registration

Ballots start to go in mail tomorrow

County elections offices around the state will begin mailing out ballots Wednesday to the state's voters. Spokane County elections officials say they will be mailing out more than 275,000 in two batches, Wednesday and Thursday.

If you are registered to vote and don't get a ballot by the following Friday, July 25th, call the elections office, which in Spokane is 509-477-2320 about a replacement ballot. (Live in another county and need their number? Click here.)

If you aren't registered to vote, but would like to be (and are a qualifying Washington resident) you have until July 28th to sign up in person at the Elections Office, which in Spokane would be at 1033 W. Gardner. Can't do it online, or by mail. Have to show up in person. Sort of the price you pay for putting it off too long.

The ballots must be marked, placed in the signed envelope and returned, either by depositing them in a drop box before 8 p.m. Aug. 5, or by mailing them back so they are postmarked no later than Aug. 5. Yes, if you mail your ballot you will have to put a stamp on the envelope. No, we will not listen to complaints about how this is unfair or as unconscionable as the poll tax. 

Your best bet for a drop box is probably the closest public library. For a list of drop box locations go inside the blog.

State voter roll hits new high

OLYMPIA — Washington has a record number of voters on its rolls as the Aug. 5 primary approaches.

The Secretary of State's office says it has 3,922,537 active registrations, which is more than previous highs before the 2012 and 2013 elections.

The number of voters ebbs and flows a bit over the election cycles, increasing in a presidential year then dropping back as the rolls are updated and people who have died are removed and those who haven't voted for years are placed on inactive status.

Ballots for the primary go out next week.

Extending online voter signup

OLYMPIA — Procrastinating voters who delay registering as the election approaches would have a little more time to sign up on-line before an election under a bill moving through the Legislature. But those who would prefer to go to the elections office and fill out the form would have a little less.

Washington currently has two deadlines for eligible residents to register to vote: 29 days before an election for filling out a form and mailing it in or filling out the online registration form and pressing the send button; eight days before the election for those willing to go to the county elections office and fill out the necessary paperwork.

But processing online registrations is more cost-effective and efficient, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said, while processing the paper forms takes more staff time. HB 1267 would allow online signups until 11 days before the election, which would also be the last day to register in person at an elections office. Paper forms that are filled out and mailed to the elections office would have to be postmarked no fewer than 28 days before the election. 

The shift for mail-in registrations means the deadline will never fall on the Monday holiday of a three-day weekend, when post offices are closed and letters can't be postmarked. The three-day shift for in-person registration moves the last day from a Monday to a Friday, which may be an easier day for a voter to take time off from work to make the trip to the elections office, Wyman said.

The bill was originally proposed to allow registration at the elections office on election day, was changed to have the different deadlines before it passed the House last year but didn't get a vote in the Senate. It passed the House again last month and received a hearing today in the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Last call to register to vote

Today is the last day for Washington residents who aren't registered to vote to do something to fix that if they want to cast a ballot in next week's general election.

The easy way to register, online or by mail, closed weeks ago. But Washington law allows a backup for the true procrastinators. You can go to your local county elections office in person and sign up. Don't know where your county elections office is? Check the map here. Be sure you don't show up after they close, because some counties have cut back the hours that their offices stay open as a result of budget cuts.

The normal restrictions apply: You must be at least 18 by next Tuesday. An American citizen and a resident of Washington state. You can't have had your voting rights revoked and not restored for some misdeed. More details can be found here.

If you're not registered, you'll miss the opportunity to vote in one of those hot Spokane City Council races, or all the Valley contests, or that special state Senate election in the 7th Legislative District, or to weigh in on the state wide ballot “food fight” over the labeling of genetically modified foods.

And you wouldn't want to do that, would you?

Registration deadline approaching

Washington residents who want to vote in the Aug. 6 primary but aren't registered have until Monday to sign up online or by mail.

Want to register? Click here.

That's the first big deadline for voter registration for the primary. If you miss that, you can still sign up in person by making a trip to the county elections office. Don't know where that is? Click here.

OK, so you think that's a hassle? Sign up online. For information on whether you're eligible, continue inside the blog.

Washington voter rolls top 3.9 million

OLYMPIA — Washington has slightly more than 3.9 million registered voters for the 2012 general election.

Those numbers include all the in-person registrations at county elections offices through Oct. 29. They are about 270,000 higher than 2008, which was also a record.

Fora drill down of numbers of local interest, go inside the blog.  

Spokane County voters rolls grow by 11,000 since Sept. 1

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First, let me use this opportunity to promote the first of six election videos in the race for state House to replace state Rep. John Ahern. Look for the other videos featuring candidates Democrat Dennis Dellwo and Republican Jeff Holy throughout the week.

Now on to some news ….

The last day to register to vote in time to participate in the November election was substantially slower than expected in Spokane County.

About 400 people came to the Spokane County elections office to register on Monday. That’s down from about 1,700 people who registered on the last day in 2008 – the year of the previous presidential election.

But County Auditor Vicky Dalton doesn’t believe the decline is a sign of weakening participation. There are just fewer procrastinators this year, she said.

Washington residents: Register by today or sit this one out

Today is the absolute, no fooling, last day to register to vote in Washington. Any Washington citizen not registered by today will have to sit out this year's general election, which is kind of a shame, considering all the political ads you'll have to endure, for naught.

 To register, you have to show up in  person at your county elections office with a state-issued ID or supply the last four digits of your Social Security number.. Don't know where your county elections office is? Click here to find out.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton also suggests showing up early. In 2008, there was a big rush at the end of the last day. The office at 1033 W. Gardner closes at 4 p.m., and anyone not in line by then won’t be allowed to register.

If you live in Idaho, you can relax. It allows registration on Election Day.

Election Reminder: Monday is registration deadline

Monday is the last day to register to vote in Washington. You may think you’ve heard this warning before, and in a sense, you have because the state closes down its registration process in steps. The deadline for registering by mail or online has long passed. Monday is the deadline to register in person at your county elections office.

To do so, you must show up with a state-issued ID or supply the last four digits of your Social Security number.

County Auditor Vicky Dalton also suggests showing up early. In 2008, there was a big rush at the end of the last day. The office at 1033 W. Gardner closes at 4 p.m., and anyone not in line by then won’t be allowed to register.

WA voter rolls hit record, still growing

OLYMPIA — Washington has a record 3.88 million voters registered for the Nov. 6 general election, and the number continues to grow by several hundred a day.  That's up by nearly 150,000 voters just since the state primary in August.

“We've never been in this range before,” Katie Blinn, co-director of elections for the Secretary of State's office, said. “It's actually growing as we talk.”

In Idaho, voter rolls are down slightly from their peak in 2008, although voters can still register at their county elections office, and can register and vote at their poll site on Election Day.

In Washington, the deadline passed last week to fill out a paper registration form and mail it in, or to register online. But wouldbe voters can still go to their county elections office in person until Oct. 29, fill out a form in person and turn it in. Military and overseas voters can continue to register online.

Between the “walk-in” registrations and the paper forms mailed before the deadline but still being processed in some county elections offices, the voter rolls are still growing by several hundred a day, Blinn said.

Mail-in registration closed Friday in Idaho so the counties can prepare the voter lists for the poll sites, currently has 784,137 registered voters. But residents of that state who aren't yet registered can still sign up by going to their county clerk's office during business hours. They'll receive a ballot at that time.

Or they can go to their local poll site on election day with valid photo identification and proof of residence — a lease, utility bill or other document that shows the address — register and cast a ballot.

Washington votes exclusively by mail. Most of voters should receive their ballots in the next few days as county elections offices have until Friday to get their ballots in the mail. Spokane County finished its mailings today.

Those ballots must be marked, placed in envelopes that are properly signed, and either mailed or deposited in drop boxes located at key locations. Each county chooses the locations for its drop boxes; to find a phone number or website for your county elections office, click here.

To see a list of drop box sites for Spokane County, go inside the blog.

Bad tweet from Obama camp on voter signup

The tweetster for the president — we're guessing Barack Obama is too busy to be sending these things out himself  — urged people this morning to fill out and mail in a voter registration form by today to meet deadlines. 

Fill in your name, e-mail address and ZIP Code, and it will direct you to a place that will supposedly let you do that.

If you are a would-be Washington voter, Don't Get Your Hopes Up.

The deadline for registering online was yesterday. The deadline for filling out a form and mailing it in was Saturday.

You can still register to vote, but to do so, you will have to go to your county elections office, in person, to fill out the form, sign it and hand it in. If you click through enough pages, it will eventually tell you that.

The other suspicious thing is the request that you supply your e-mail address, but not your physical address. Nothing tied to voter registration requires an e-mail address, because those can be as impermanent as a Kardashian wedding. Could it be the e-mail address is really for the campaign, and not for the process of securing voting rights for citizens?

Deadlines approaching for WA voter registration

OLYMPIA — Washington residents who are would-be voters but aren't registered still have time to sign up and be eligible to cast a ballot for president, governor or any or all of the other offices and measures on the state's long and interesting ballot.

But not a lot of time.

Those who are planning on filling out a registration form and mailing it in have until Saturday to do so. That's because by state law, mail-in ballots must be post-marked by Oct. 8… but Oct. 8, which is  next Monday, is also Columbus Day, on which no mail is going to get post-marked. So Saturday, Oct. 6, is the last day you can get the necessary mark on the envelope.

Registration forms can be found at many government offices, including the county elections offices and some public libraries. They can also be printed out from this page on  the secretary of state's website.

Of course, if you're going online, anyway, you might consider doing the whole thing by computer at a different secretary of state website, My Vote, which will walk you through the process and save you a stamp. The other advantage is that the deadline for online registration is still Oct. 8, because the post office isn't involved in this.

For those who want the experience of going to the elections office in person  filling out the form and handing it to another human being, that option is available until Oct. 29. But call the elections office first to check their hours; because of government reductions, different counties have different closing times. To find a number for you county elections office, click here.

In Idaho, the deadline to “pre-register” — that is, get on the voter rolls at your precinct polling place, is Oct. 12. For a copy of the Idaho voter registration form, which can be printed out, filled out and mailed in, click here.  Idaho also has same-day registration at the polling station.

Easy voter registration deadline is today

Today is the deadline for the easiest way to register to vote. That is, online or by mail.

Yes, there is another deadline, later this month, for people who are willing to make the trip to their local county elections office and sign up in person. But let's face it, most people who are willing to jump through that hoop are already registered.

For the average, marginally motivated voter who puts things off until the last  minute, this is probably the preferred way to go. And it's the last minute.

So click here to go to a website where you can get yourself registered.

MYVote goes quadra-lingual

OLYMPIA — The state Elections Division has expanded its help to register voters and get them information about the candidates and ballot issues they face on this year's ballot to include three languages besides English.

MyVote now offers links to voter registration and information in Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese on the Secretary of State's website.

A voter who isn't fluent in English but is in one of those languages can enter their first and last name and birthdate (or nombre/apellido.fecha de nacimiento, ten goi/ten ho/ngay sinh, or in traditional Chinese characters that aren't available on the computer that handles this blog) and  see all the details on who's on his or her ballot.

It's the work of the division's minority language coordinator, Cristina Labra, and it's up and running in advance of the deadline for registering online to vote in the Aug. 7 primary, which is coming up on July 9.

Sunday spin: Do non-voters protest a bit too much?

OLYMPIA – Washington voters have a very good track record of casting ballots – among the best in the country.
Is it perfect? No. Could it be better? Yes. Are there people who should vote but don’t? Probably. Is it worth making major changes to the current system to capture some shoulda-woulda-coulda voters?
Some legislators think so. Some state and local officials who run the elections wish they would knock it off. Judge for yourself who’s right.

To read the rest of this column, go inside the blog.
  

Lege Day 4: Pre-registering voters at 16

OLYMPIA – One of the most popular ways to register to vote is to sign up when applying for a driver’s license. Unless you’re 16 or 17, the time when most drivers get their first license but are too young to vote.
State Rep. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, thinks the state should help those young drivers and all 16- and 17-year-olds become good voters, by letting them “pre-register” to vote, so they’ll automatically be added to the rolls when they turn 18.


To read the rest of this item, or for links to the bills, click here to go inside the blog.


  

Uh-oh. Some ballots might not have been mailed

OLYMPIA — Nearly 21,000 residents who either signed up to vote or updated their registration by using a state web site might not  have been mailed a ballot or may have been sent a ballot for their old address.

The Washington Secretary of State's office said late Monday that some voters who used the Department of Licensing's web site to register or change their address may not have received a ballot because the DoL computer wasn't sending that  information to the SecState computer.

Nearly 15,000 voters who tried to update their registration address when they updated their drivers license address filled out a form online and on time, but that information wasn't forwarded to the Secretary of State's office until last Friday. Some of those voters may have received ballots that were sent to a previous address and forwarded to them; others may not have received a ballot

Almost 6,000 who weren't registered may have filled out the “update your voter registration” form which doesn't have enough information for a new registration.

So what's a wouldbe voter to do? On Election Eve, the Secretary of State's office says if you believe you registered but haven't received a ballot — or if you changed your address but received a ballot for your old location — go to your county elections office or a Voter Service Center to fill out a registration form and cast a provisional ballot.

For information on the location of county elections offices and voter service centers, click here.

Online voter registration deadline: TODAY

If you're a Washington resident who has been putting off registering to vote but still want to cast a ballot in the November general election, here's your last warning:

This is the last day to register the relatively easy way, online. You can just go to the Secretary of State's website and follow the instrluctions.

Because this is a federal holiday (Columbus Day), the time has passed to download a form, fill it out and mail it in. You can't get it postmarked today because the Post Offices are closed.

But the Internet does not close down, so you can do it  online.

Miss today's deadline and you'll have to go to your county elections office, fill out the form in person and turn it in, sometime between now and Halloween. But seriously: If you've been procrastinating this long, which are you more likely to do? Click a link and type in some info, or figure out where the elections office is, when it's open and drive over there?

We thought so. Click on the link and get going.

If you're an Idaho voter, never mind. The rules are different there.

Mailing in that registration? Do it quickly

Washington residents who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered have until Saturday to mail in their registration forms, and until Monday to sign up online.

The final deadline for mail and online voting is Monday, but that’s Columbus Day, a federal holiday on which post offices will be closed. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by Monday, but if they don’t get postmarked Saturday, they won’t be postmarked until Tuesday.

It will be possible to register online through Monday by going to the Secretary of State’s web site . Residents who miss that deadline can still sign up in person at a county elections office until Oct. 31.
  

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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