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King County starts mailing out ballots: When you can expect yours

A ballot drop box stands outside the King County Elections office Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Tukwila, Wash. Ballots for county residents are being mailed Wednesday. Washington state is one of five states, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah, that conduct elections entirely by mail-in voting. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Beginning Wednesday, King County is starting to send out ballots to the region’s registered voters, officially kicking off the election process in Washington state.

MyNorthwest 2020 Voters Guide

King County voting centers also open Wednesday, with ballot drop boxes opening on Thursday. Come Monday, Oct. 19, the first ballot return statistics for the county will be available to the public.

Ballots for Snohomish County voters with begin going out on Thursday, and on Friday in Pierce County. Friday also marks the start of the voting period statewide.

Ballots should begin arriving in mailboxes five to 10 days after they’re sent out from election offices.

The vote-by-mail option first became law in Washington state in 2005. Under Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s guidance, the system has been expanded to include fully paid postage, a wide network of ballot drop boxes, and more stringent security measures.

In the wake of claims from President Trump that mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud, Wyman emphasized the safety of voting by mail in a recent op-ed for The Hill.

“Voting by mail is voting, plain and simple,” she wrote. “It’s safe and secure, and amid a worldwide pandemic it’s needed now more than ever. In many states, the election is already underway; people are casting their ballots now. Don’t wait to make your voice heard. Vote by mail today.”

Wyman: Trump war against vote-by-mail ‘a dangerous path to go down’

Several other states are also providing a vote-by-mail option in 2020 as a means to mitigate the risk of voting in person during the ongoing pandemic.

Because mail-in ballots take longer to arrive — and subsequently tally — Wyman has warned in the past that there’s a high likelihood we won’t know the results of the election until weeks after the fact.

“The expectation should be that we will probably not know the President of the United States until mid to late November,” Wyman said in August. “We want to make sure that whoever wins, it was indeed the candidate that the voters wanted — that’s going to take time.”


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