Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions our office receives.
Who can register to vote?
Find out who is eligible to register to vote.

​To register to vote you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • Residing at your current address for a minimum of 30 days before Election Day.
  • A legal resident of Washington state.
  • At least 18 years old by Election Day. You can preregister to vote if you are between 16 or 17 years old.

How do I get a ballot?
Find out how to get a ballot, if you're a registered voter.

​Washington State is a vote-by-mail state. State law requires us to deliver ballots to the post office at least 18 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot, please call our Elections team at 360.786.5408.

You can also get a ballot in-person at the Auditor's Office beginning 20 days before an election. You can find information about our location and hours to prepare for your visit. You can pick up a ballot for yourself, a family member or a registered domestic partner.

We have a list of key election dates and registration deadlines here.

What if I’m away during an election?
Find out what to do if you're going to be away during the election.

​You can vote in Washington State, even if you're away from home during an election. Please look at the following situations and identify your options:

  • Seasonal resident. If you are a seasonal resident, update your seasonal mailing address with our office. Provide us with the first and last days you'll receive mail at this address and we'll send your ballot to that address each year between the dates you specify.
  • Out of town and can't receive mail. You can access an electronic ballot by logging into VoteWA. You'll only need access to the internet and a printer to print your ballot and return it to our office.
  • Leaving town and can't receive your ballot by mail or email. If you know you'll be out of town and can't receive mail or email 90 days before an election, contact us and we can issue a special advance ballot to you.
How can I get assistance with voter registration and voting?
Learn more about your options for getting assistance with voter registration and voting.

​If you need assistance with registering to vote, obtaining a ballot and voting your ballot, please contact our office at 360.786.5408 for assistance. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, contact 711 Washington Relay.

You can also find helpful information on our Accessible Voting webpage about ExpressVote voting machines and ballot drop box locations.

I’m a college student…
College students have unique questions about voting. Learn more about your options for voting as a college student.

What address should I use to register to vote?

You can use either your hometown address or the address where you live at school. Your choice depends on where you want to claim residency.

If I keep my registration in my hometown, how do I vote while I'm away at college?

Call our office at 360.786.5408 to let us know you'd like us to send your ballot to your school address.

Can I vote by email?

While you can't vote by email,  you can access an electronic ballot by logging into VoteWA. You'll only need access to the internet and a printer to print your ballot and return it to our office.

I'm homeless or unstably homed...
You CAN vote if you live in a place where you cannot receive mail.

You CAN vote if you live in a place where you cannot receive mail. You register by providing:

  • A place where you spend most of your time
  • Another place where you can receive mail

You MUST fill out the residential address line on the voter registration form so we can assign your voting precinct. This address can be a park, intersection, or another place that we can find on a map.

For example: Olympia Ave NE and Franklin St. NE, Olympia, WA.

You must also provide a mailing address because we will mail your ballot to you. You can use one of the following:

  1. Address of a friend or relative

  2. Address of a shelter or day center where you can receive mail

  3. General delivery at a post office. The post office holds general delivery for 30 days. The post office requires identification to pick up general delivery mail. You don't have to pre-register to use general delivery.

More information here.

What is Same Day Registration (SDR)?
Find out how you can register and vote up until 8 p.m. on Election Day

​In the summer of 2019, Washington implemented same day registration. Citizens may register to vote or update their address up to 8:00 pm Election Day. 

  • Voters my register by any means up to 8 days prior to Election Day.
  • After that citizens must appear in person at their county Auditor's Office or other designated location to register to vote or update their address and be able to vote in that election.

What is a Future Voter?
Find out how 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register to vote

​A Future Voter is a teen who is pre-registered to vote. Citizens may pre-register to vote at age 16 and will be automatically eligible to vote and sent a ballot during the first election after their 18th birthday.

What is the Future Voter Program?

It is a program led by the Auditor's office guiding students to get the word out to those who can pre-register.

Who can participate in the Future Voter Program?

The Auditor's Office is partnering with high schools and SPSCC's Running Start Program to find individuals who want to make a positive change in their communities and are committed to spreading the word about the new Future Voter Law.

Do you or someone you know want to participate in the Future Voter Program?

We are looking for hardworking, reliable, motivated, and enthusiastic high school students who are passionate about the civic process. Students who are 16 or 17 years old with a desire to promote voter registration and are willing to communicate effectively with their peers are encouraged to participate.

What is the time commitment?

2-4 hours a month. Participants will help orchestrate voter registration drives at their schools and help promote the Future Voter Program.