The 2020 election is coming up quickly – Tuesday, November 3, 2020 to be exact – and after 2016’s controversial results, we’ve seen a fair share of disillusionment around voting. In fact, this past March, less than half of all voting-eligible Washingtonians voted in the presidential primary.
With a pandemic that’s put serious dents in the local, regional, and global economy and changed the day-to-day lives of people everywhere, voting is one way we can continue the conversation on what’s important to us. It’s one way we can continue to show our unity with those acting on behalf of our best interests and advocating for the supports we need. And it’s one way we can act on our right to be heard and acknowledged, as well as speak up for those being silenced.
Reflecting our values of accountability and social justice, we want to thank our advocacy partner Statewide Poverty Action Network for the work they’ve put into their 2020 Voter Guide. Focusing on King, Snohomish, Yakima, and Pierce Counties – the four hit hardest by the pandemic in WA State – the guide fosters participation by answering questions about barriers to voting, explaining common dog-whistle phrasing used in ballot measures coded to hide harmful impacts, and getting residents familiar with the solutions candidates propose to the economic uncertainty we’re facing.
In addition to the guide, the Poverty Action team held voter education trainings, and we’re sharing some pertinent information from them here.
First and foremost, make sure you save some dates!
- Friday, October 16: You should receive your ballot by this time. Audio and other accessible formats of voter guide pamphlets are available online and by request.
- Monday, October 26: Eight days before the election, this is the last day to register to vote online and by mail in WA State. You can still register to vote in person after this date.
- Tuesday, October 27: Send in your ballot early. USPS recommends postmarking your ballots at least a week before Election Day to ensure they are counted in time. Want to relieve some pressure on USPS? Poverty Action put together a statewide ballot box map so that you know what physical locations exist for you to drop your ballot off until 8pm of election night.
- Tuesday, November 3: This is the general election (i.e., takes place every four years and includes presidential candidates) and the last day to register to vote in person – up until 8pm. Accessible Voting Units (AVUs) are available at voting centers starting 18 days before the election, in addition to other accessibility resources to assist with voting.
Some voting FAQs answered…
Vote safely with a confidential voting address
The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) can help give Protected Records Voter status to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, or stalking; employees in criminal justice; and targets of felony harassment on the job – so that voting addresses remain confidential. Intake with a Certified Advocate is required for this program.
Vote with a felony conviction in WA State
Those convicted of a felony (on the federal level) have their right to vote restored as long as they are no longer under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. You can still register and vote even if you are still paying your Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs). Note that voter registration is required to receive a ballot.
Vote with a nontraditional address
Voters without a traditional residential address can use physical addresses to receive their ballots, including those of shelters, parks, or marinas, etc.; an address where they already get mail; general delivery at local post offices; and PO Boxes. Voters living on tribal lands can inquire with tribal leaders on using tribal government buildings as residential and mailing addresses.
More questions about voting in Washington State? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org!