What’s the Deal with Mail-In Voting?

A Guide for EvCC Voters

Today marks National Voter Registration Day, and there is a strong push to make sure you are registered to vote. It may seem as if the reminder looms in every task, from checking social media to glancing at the SUV covered in chalk paint driving by. With the 2020 presidential election nearing, it is almost impossible to escape the impetus of your vote, but the empowering knowledge that makes a confident voter might be lost in translation.  

Polarizing views can cause confusion, especially when the act of voting itself is under the spotlight of controversy. States are turning to mail-in voting to alleviate the spread of COVID-19. This has met a force of resistance, spearheaded by President Trump who tweeted that “2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”.  

Prior to the pandemic, absentee ballots were available

VBM Fact Sheet from the Washington Secretary of State website detailing the history of Vote-By-Mail and how it works.

to voters in every state, with most states allowing requests without an excuse. This is an option all Washington state voters have had since 1991. By 2011, mail-in voting was the norm in most Washington counties and became the statewide requirement. The Washington Secretary of State Vote-By-Mail Fact Sheet is a simple, straightforward resource to learn more.  

If you are a registered voter in Washington, an absentee ballot will be automatically sent to you in the mail. You can check your voting status here

Some concerns regarding universal mail-in voting are valid. Unlike Washington, states that haven’t spent years streamlining their mail-in process face hurdles. The U.S. Postal Service requires extra support amidst the threat of President Trump’s resistance to funding. With so many first-time mail-in voters, a high number of ballots could be discarded due to error. 

Voter education is imperative to making sure every vote counts. Each ballot is checked, and those with late postmarks or mismatched signatures are rejected. According to The Stranger, at least 47,000 Washington presidential primary ballots were rejected in March due to incorrect use of partisan declaration boxes.  

Ballot errors can be avoided by visiting your county’s election website. For EvCC students and staff in Snohomish county, these voter forms can be used to register to vote, change names and update signatures. You can also call or email the election’s office with questions. 

The New York Times reported that U.S. voter registration has increased by 32 percent compared to the 2016 election, but has decreased by 5 percent in Washington state. With a pandemic, economic instability and the ravaging effects of climate change, voting is an action you can take to fight for the country you want for yourself and future generations. On National Voter Registration Day, access the tools you need to register to vote and be a confident, educated voter.