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Same-day registration statewide makes it easier for voters to cast ballots in 11th hour


The 2019 general election is tomorrow. Even if you aren’t registered, it’s not too late to get your vote in.

For the first time, Washington state will let voters register the same day as the election at each of the 39 election offices throughout the state. Some counties are debuting voting centers. In King County, voting centers are located in public buildings with trained staff to assist voters who need help or who need to register.

“We felt like we needed to provide a number of locations that voters could go in, in person, get registered, and vote right up until election day,” said Kendall Hodson, chief of staff for King County Elections Director Julie Wise.  

If you are a registered voter, ballots must be mailed and postmarked by Tuesday at 8 p.m. Voters also can take ballots to designated drop boxes, which are located all over the Puget Sound area. If you don’t know the status of your voter registration, you can check it here.

In King County, Hodson says about 1.3 million ballots have been mailed out to voters. In last year’s general election, the county saw a record-breaking 76 percent turnout. 

Hodson estimates the county will see about a 43 percent turnout this year, but turnout is trending lower than that projection. She noted that this year’s ballot is quite long, so voters may simply be taking more time to get through it. In addition, it’s an odd-year election, which typically yields fewer voters. 

“Local elections are so critically important,” said Halei Watkins, communications manager for King County Elections. “We believe that these elections really impact our lives in a really immediate way when you’re electing your city council or voting on local measures; those are things are critically important, and often get forgotten. We always want folks to pay attention and make sure that they’re making their voices heard.”

There is still time to turn in your ballot, but election officials are encouraging voters to do it early, to skip lines and allow time for corrections to be made if there are any errors.