Everything one needs to know about voting in Washington State
By Halle Wyatt, Feature & Managing Editor
With only three weeks until election day, Americans across the country are gearing up to vote — whether early and by mail or later and in person. As seniors at the high school celebrate their eighteenth birthdays, they are now eligible to vote in all elections. However, many people do not know where to begin.
Washington residents do not need to be 18 or even 17 to register to vote in this state. With the Future Voter program run by the WA Secretary of State, one only has to be at least 16 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a Washington resident. The program will automatically register the voter on their eighteenth birthday, and they will receive a ballot on time without request.
One can register online here or at a licensing office.
All Washington residents have until Oct. 26 to register to vote online or by mail. After that, residents can still register to vote in person until election day. Click here to find the nearest office.
Ballots will be mailed on Oct. 14 and are expected to arrive by Oct. 16, 18 days before Election Day. Nov. 3 is the latest a voter can mail their ballot, but it is highly recommended that voters mail them as early as possible. There are directions on the ballot to find out how to properly secure it in the envelope. Voters should bring their ballot to either a United States Postal Service (USPS) collection box or a ballot box, one of which can be found outside the Vashon library.
It is important to not only vote for the presidential election, but also for local, state, and congressional elections as well. These elections often have the most direct impact on a person’s life, much more than federal elections. In fact, progressive change often occurs on a local level first.
Voter pamphlets will be mailed on Oct. 13, but there is more information about the measures and candidates on the ballot here.
It is incredibly important to participate in the democratic process, as only 58.1 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2016 presidential election. Despite what exit polls may say, it may not be clear who is the winner of many elections on Nov. 3 because of the counting delays, but eligible voters can still ensure that their voice is heard by registering to vote and voting on election day.