Washington | Voting Guide

  Washington  

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Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

Voter Registration Deadline: By mail or online: received by 8 days before Election Day. You may register in person on Election Day.


2020

  • Presidential Primary Election Registration Deadline: March 2

  • Presidential Primary Election: March 10

  • Primary Election (Other Offices) Registration Deadline: July 27

  • Primary Election (Other Offices): August 4

  • General Election Registration Deadline: October 26

  • General Election: November 3

 
Official Election Websites
 
Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.


Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.


You may only be registered and vote in one location.

 
What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

To register online, you must have a valid Washington state driver’s license, state identification card, or  tribal identification card, if your signature can be obtained through the federal or tribal governments. 


To register by mail, Washington’s voter registration form asks for your Washington driver’s license, learner’s permit or state ID number, or, if you don’t have any of those, the last four digits of your Social Security number. Be sure to provide one of these numbers if you have it.

 
What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

You do not need to present an ID to vote in Washington by mail. Most people in Washington vote by mail.


If you want to vote in person at a voting center, first-time voters who registered by mail or voter registration drive and did not provide a verified Washington driver’s license, learner’s permit, state ID number, or the last four digits of their Social Security Number, will need to present one of the following when in voting in person:

  • Valid photo ID;

  • Valid tribal ID of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Washington State;

  • Copy of a current utility bill;

  • Current bank statement;

  • Copy of a current government check;

  • Copy of a current paycheck; or

  • A government document that shows both your name and address.


Additionally, if you vote in person at a voting center, then you need to either sign a ballot declaration or present a photo ID, such as:

  • A driver’s license or state ID card;

  • A student ID card;

  • A tribal ID; or

  • An employer ID card.


A tribal identification card is not required to include a residential address or an expiration date to be considered valid, but the other forms of ID must have those features. Anyone who wants to vote in person but cannot provide ID will vote a provisional ballot, which shall be accepted if the signature on the declaration matches the signature on the voter's registration record.

 
Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. To look up where to return your ballot or vote in person at a voting center, you can log in to MyVote.wa.gov  and Select Drop Boxes and Voting Center Locations. You can then view a list or a map of drop boxes and voting centers in your area.

 
How Can I Vote?

Mail-in/Drop-off

Washington mostly votes by mail. Ballots are mailed to registered voters at least 18 days before the election. 


The ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day, returned to a designated ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day, or returned in-person to the county elections department by 8 p.m. on Election Day.


County election officials match your signature on a mail ballot with your voter registration signature.


In-person

You can also vote in person at a voting center during the voting period starting 18 days before the election and ending at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Voting centers are open during business hours during the voting period. That will require showing photo ID (see above). 


For locations and exact hours, go to MyVote.wa.gov or contact your county election office: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/auditors/.


 
Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:


Federal Financial Aid

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA.


Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes

Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes.


Tuition Status

Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community.


 

Will registering to vote in Washington affect my driver’s license or car registration?

No. Washington does not require newly registered voters to obtain a Washington driver’s license or register their vehicles there.

Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project intend the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Washington legal professional.

 

Last updated September 2020

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