A recently mailed USPS postcard was delivered to every household in America advising voters how to prepare for the upcoming election. Unfortunately, it told voters in states that already have adopted vote-by-mail elections, including Washington state, to request a mail-in ballot. This is unnecessary for voters registered in states with vote-by-mail elections.
Voters in Whatcom County do not need to request a ballot, as ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters 20 days prior to Election Day. There is no need to sign up or request to receive a mail-in ballot to vote in the upcoming election.Whatcom County Auditor Diana Bradrick (September 14, 2020)
There is an expected increase of mail-in ballots nationwide during this year’s Presidential Election because the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted states with in-person voting to promote the vote-by-mail option to reduce crowds and to provide an option to those who otherwise would be fearful of voting in person on Election Day.
All registered voters in Washington state can expect, as has been done in years past, to receive mail-in ballots without needing to request them and postage is unnecessary when submitting completed Washington state ballots via USPS mail service.
A spokesman for the USPS has been quoted in several news reports as saying the mailer is part of a pre-election campaign to educate voters choosing to vote by mail.
The recommendation on the postcard to “mail your ballot at least 7 days before Election Day” does go toward ensuring the ballots will be postmarked on or prior to Election Day. A late postmark could disqualify a ballot.
USPS recommends mailing at least a week before election day, and voters are encouraged to check the last mailbox collection time in order to ensure their ballot will be postmarked in time.
Instead of mailing ballots, Washington state voters can utilize ballot drop boxes. Ballots can be placed in ballot drop boxes up to 8pm on Election Day. Ballot drop boxes are available around Whatcom County and elsewhere in Washington state.
Voters who want to confirm their voter registration status or address can visit VoteWA.gov to do so.