– Your online access to elections

Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:47 am by

This is the the tenth in a series of arti­cles about elec­tions in Wash­ing­ton State by San Juan Coun­ty Audi­tor F. Milene Hen­ley. The Coun­ty Audi­tor admin­is­ters elec­tions and vot­er reg­is­tra­tion in the County…

Milene Henley - Contributed photo

Milene Henley - Contributed photo

Hey, Mil­len­ni­als! This one’s for you. Every­thing you ever want­ed to know about elec­tions is online, in an easy to use, mobile-friend­ly tool.

Want an ear­ly peek at the Vot­ers’ Guide? How about the bal­lot itself? Have you ever won­dered if your cur­rent bal­lot has been processed yet, or if the Elec­tions Office received your bal­lot for a pre­vi­ous election?

Answers to all of these ques­tions and more are avail­able for Wash­ing­ton vot­ers with the touch of a fin­ger. MyVote, Washington’s pre­mier online vot­er tool, pro­vides 24-hour access to impor­tant vot­er infor­ma­tion, includ­ing reg­is­tra­tion details, con­tact infor­ma­tion for elect­ed offi­cials, an online vot­ers’ guide, loca­tion of bal­lot drop box­es and vot­ing cen­ters, and bal­lot status.

With the gen­er­al elec­tion loom­ing, you might want to ver­i­fy that the Elec­tions office has your cor­rect mail­ing address. If it needs updat­ing and you have a valid Wash­ing­ton driver’s license or state ID card, you can update your address online, through MyVote. If you’re not yet reg­is­tered to vote, the site will re-direct you to the online vot­er reg­is­tra­tion tool. If you’re not reg­is­tered and have no state-issued ID, the site will tell you how to reg­is­ter by mail or in per­son, at the local Elec­tions office.

A recent update to MyVote sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhanced its acces­si­bil­i­ty fea­tures. Devel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with mul­ti­ple dis­abil­i­ty advo­ca­cy groups, the new site is com­pli­ant with Fed­er­al access guide­lines, works with all com­mon screen read­ers, and uti­lizes col­or and design to enhance leg­i­bil­i­ty. MyVote is avail­able in Eng­lish, Span­ish, Chi­nese and Vietnamese.

To get to MyVote, go to; you can also find it on the Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site or the local elec­tions web­site. You’ll need to enter your first and last names and date of birth in order to gain access. Because MyVote knows who you are, the Vot­ers’ Guide and bal­lot will be cus­tomized for you, includ­ing only the races and mea­sures that you get to vote in.

MyVote also gives you access to a replace­ment bal­lot, in case you’ll be gone when your bal­lot arrives, or you’ve mis­placed your mailed bal­lot. Using the “MyBal­lot” fea­ture of MyVote, you can either print a bal­lot to mark offline, or mark a bal­lot online and then print it, already marked. What MyVote can’t do for you is deliv­er your bal­lot. You’ll still need to drop it in the mail or in a bal­lot box by Elec­tion Day. (The bal­lot will print with instruc­tions for how to return the bal­lot, and with a dec­la­ra­tion page for your signature.)

Wash­ing­ton State is a “post­mark state,” mean­ing it is the post­mark on your enve­lope that deter­mines whether you vot­ed on time, rather than the envelope’s phys­i­cal pres­ence in the Elec­tions office on Elec­tion Day. That’s for­tu­nate for San Juan Coun­ty vot­ers, since local mail is rout­ed through Seat­tle and may take two or three days or even longer to be deliv­ered back to the cour­t­house. But mail­ing requires stamps (some­thing some Mil­len­ni­als have nev­er heard of), so there’s an eas­i­er way. For local vot­ers, we rec­om­mend that you return your bal­lots by drop box. There are three drop box­es in the coun­ty, at the cour­t­house, the Lopez fire hall, and the Orcas senior cen­ter. If you aren’t famil­iar with those loca­tions, there’s a map of them on MyVote. All are open 24–7 through 8 pm on Elec­tion Day.

So, Mil­len­ni­als – no excus­es! You’re the least-vot­ing sec­tor of the pop­u­la­tion. Let’s turn that around, and make this your elec­tion. After all, it’s your future.

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Categories: Government

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