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San Juan County voters have been receiving postcards from the U.S. Postal Service encouraging voters to “plan ahead” for the November 3 General Election. Unfortunately, two of the recommendations included in the postcards are not relevant to Washington voters.
One of the recommendations is to request your ballot at least 15 days before Election Day. This step is not necessary, as all registered Washington voters will be mailed a ballot at least 18 days prior to the election. In San Juan County, ballots are scheduled to be mailed October 13.
The second irrelevant recommendation is to affix first class postage to ballot return envelopes. Starting last year, ballot return envelopes in Washington State have included prepaid postage. No stamps are required.
One good recommendation on the postcards is to mail your ballot at least 7 days before Election Day. If you plan to mail your ballot, mailing earlier helps to ensure that it will be received and processed in a timely manner.
Alternatively, use one of the County’s new ballot drop boxes to ensure secure handling of your ballot. The drop boxes are located in front of the courthouse, on San Juan Island; at the north end of the Senior Center parking lot, on Orcas Island; and next to the main Fire Station on Fisherman Bay Road, on Lopez Island. The Lopez box will be moving to the left side of the fire station this year, to allow voters to drop ballots off from their vehicles.
“The Postal Service provides an invaluable service to vote-by-mail states,” says Auditor Milene Henley. “In this case, however, this nationwide mailer includes information that is not relevant to Washington voters. By the time the Secretary of State and county election officials were made aware of the mailers, they were already in the mail stream.”
Henley recommends voters visit VoteWA.gov before the election to verify or update their mailing address. For questions about elections or voter registration, contact the San Juan County Elections Office at (360) 378-3357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.