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Wondering if your ballot’s been counted? Here’s how to track it in Washington and Idaho

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 25, 2020

At the Spokane County Elections Office, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton holds a bin of ballots, which are part of the 340,000 ballots that were scheduled to be mailed Oct. 8-9.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
At the Spokane County Elections Office, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton holds a bin of ballots, which are part of the 340,000 ballots that were scheduled to be mailed Oct. 8-9. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

So you’ve turned in your mail-in ballot, now what?

In Washington and Idaho, keeping track of your ballot after it has left your hands is easy.

In Washington, all tracking is done on voteWA.gov, the statewide voter information database. All county and secretary of state websites have links to VoteWA, where you can register, change your registration, read about candidates and check your ballot status.

The deadline to register online and by mail is Monday, but you can register in person at your county elections office until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.

If you’ve already submitted your ballot, here’s how to find out where it is:

  1. Go to votewa.gov
  2. Enter your name and birthdate.
  3. On the left, click on the option for “Ballot Status.”
  4. It will either say: Sent, Received, Accepted or Rejected.

“Sent” means it has been mailed to you. “Received” means it has been received by the elections office. “Accepted” means it will be counted. “Rejected” means there was an issue, most likely with the signature.

If your ballot is sitting at “received” for a long period of time, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said it could be because of a replacement ballot issue.

If you ordered a replacement ballot because of a name change or address change, but you send in the original ballot, Dalton said the county will hold off on processing until the replacement ballot is received. If the replacement ballot never comes, the original ballot will be counted the week after Election Day.

Dalton said they would prefer to count the replacement ballot because it is the “active” ballot, but they will count the original, if that’s the only one they receive.

In Idaho, the process to check your ballot status is similar:

1. Visit idahovotes.gov.

2. Click on “Online Voter Tools” under the Voting tab.

3. Click on “Check Your Voter Record.”

4. Enter your first and last name and date of birth.

5. Once you’re in, you should be able to see the status of your absentee ballot, if that’s how you voted.

6. It will either say: Sent, Received, Accepted or Rejected.

If it’s rejected, it will give instructions on how to fix the issue, such as a signature problem.

Idaho has seen a record number of absentee ballot requests this election. Friday was the last day to request one.

Kootenai County is expected to mail out 48,000 absentee ballots.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, nearly 29% of those registered in the county had voted, either absentee or early in person. Almost 25,000 of those came in by mail. Another 4,200 were cast in person. The county has early voting through Oct. 30.

In Washington, turnout continues to break records. Statewide, 37.7% of ballots had been returned as of 5 p.m. Friday. At this point in 2016, 17.3% of ballots had been returned.

In Spokane County, where ballots were mailed out one week earlier than in 2016, 46.6% of ballots were returned as of Friday.

Ballots continue to be processed as they come in, Dalton said. Her hope is people don’t wait until Election Day, but such high early turnout is promising.

“It’s totally amazing,” Dalton said.


Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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