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A procrastinator’s guide to voting in Washington

Yes, you can still cast a ballot and even register to vote.

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I know, I know, you’d prefer this site to stick to sports. We’d also love to live in a world where that’s possible, but just like you, our lives exist outside the Sounders and Reign bubble. Regardless of where your personal politics lie, I like to think we can at least all agree that voting is a worthwhile endeavor.

In Washington, it’s super easy to do. Even though the Presidential Election is only a day away, you can still cast a ballot and even register to vote. What you shouldn’t do is just drop your ballot in the nearest mailbox, however. With that in mind, I’ve assembled a procrastinator’s guide to casting a ballot in Washington:

I’ve got my ballot, but I’m not sure what to do

Although you can still technically mail your ballot and it should be counted as long as it’s postmarked by Election Day, there’s no guarantee of that happening and no good reason to take that chance. There are official drop boxes throughout the state, and in practically every Seattle neighborhood. As long as you drop it in one of those boxes by 8 PM on Tuesday, you’ll know it will be counted.

What if I don’t have my ballot or lost the envelope?

You can still show up at one of the in-person voting centers and cast a ballot there. One such location is at CenturyLink Field, and there are a total of seven of them scattered around King County. There are also voting centers in Tacoma and Everett, as well as throughout the state. Notably, you don’t need to go to a voting center in your own county, as each voting center throughout the state should have a full assortment of ballots.

Is that like more traditional voting?

Not quite. If you want to vote in person, don’t expect to have a private booth or anything like that. The staff will just give you a ballot that looks like the one you’d otherwise get in the mail. You’ll fill it out, put it in an envelope and hand it over.

What if I don’t know my registration status?

You can check online to see if you’re already registered.

What if I know I’m not registered?

Washington is one of a bunch of states that lets you register to vote on Election Day. Notably, you’ll need to do that in person at this point. You can do that at of the voting centers.

How do I know if my vote got counted?

King County has a really awesome online tool that lets you see everything from your registration status to your voting history to the status of your current ballot. If you live outside of King County, the Washington Secretary of State has a more basic tracking tool.

Doesn’t all of this lead to rampant voter fraud?

Actually no. One of the best things about all mail-in voting is that there’s an actual paper trail that can be easily audited. Voter fraud is also extremely rare here, with only 142 documented cases out of 3.2 million votes cast in 2018, for instance. That’s a rate of .004%.

How’s it going so far?

King County has already surpassed 75% turnout and has already seen more ballots cast than in 2016. The county has a goal of reaching 90% turnout, which still seems well within reach. Statewide, 67.6% of ballots had already been returned as of Saturday.

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