Washington voters do not need to “plan ahead” to vote by mail, the state’s election officer said.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman said residents can ignore a postcard coming from the U.S. Postal Service encouraging voters to request an absentee or mail-in ballot 15 days before the election, since the state already sends mail-in ballots to all registered voters 18 days before an election day.
“There is no need to sign up or request to receive a mail-in ballot to vote in the upcoming election,” Wyman said in a news release.
The Postal Service is sending out postcards advising people to “plan ahead” and request absentee ballots 15 days in advance and mail them back at least seven days before the Nov. 3 election to ensure they arrive in time to be counted.
Other states are adopting mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, a move opposed by President Donald Trump, which has raised concerns whether the Postal Service will be able to deliver ballots on time, especially after budget cuts.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed suit in U.S. District Court in Yakima to get a court order requiring the Postal Service to treat ballots as first-class mail and to reinstall any sorting machines that were removed in what critics say was an effort by the Trump administration to sabotage mail-in voting.
Wyman said she and county elections officials were not told that the mailers would be sent to Washington voters, who have been voting by mail statewide since 2011.
“By the time we learned of the mailer and reached out of the Postal Service to inquire further, the mailers were already in the mail stream,” Wyman said.
Voters can verify their registration status and address by going to VoteWA.gov, the release said.