Washington vote-by-mail system receives perfect score in newly-released ranking
A recently-released ranking of every state’s vote-by-mail performance saw Washington receive a perfect score, as ballots continue to flood in from early voters.
The ranking comes courtesy of the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan think tank that focuses on a wide range of public policy issues. Brookings graded each state on a A through F scale on their “vote-by-mail pandemic preparedness,” distributing points for automatically sending ballots to voters, not requiring a witness signature, making drop-boxes widely available, and more.
Washington was the only state to receive a perfect score, accruing 22 out of 22 possible points, boasting a solid “A” grade. Also receiving A’s were Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
Alabama was the only state to receive a score under zero, grading out at an F with -1 points. That’s thanks to a policy that requires a notary or two witnesses to be present for any absentee ballot, a photo ID requirement for mail-in ballot applications, and requiring mailed ballots to be postmarked a day prior to election day.
Receiving D’s were Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
In Washington, voters have been turning in ballots at record levels. As of Tuesday, the state had received ballots from 18% of registered voters, up from 6.2% at that same time in 2016. By Thursday, that number had already jumped to 25%, totaling 1.2 million ballots turned in statewide.
Several counties in Washington have either close to or above 30% of ballots turned in, with Ferry County up over 50%.
The vote-by-mail option first became law in Washington state in 2005. Since then, its system has been expanded to include fully paid postage, a wide network of ballot drop boxes, and more stringent security measures.