County sending 4,000 ballots overseas

EVERETT — If the race for governor is a nail-biter as predicted, the deciding votes could be cast in California, Canada, China or even Zambia.

That’s because about 50,000 of the state’s registered voters are living in another state or another country, or serving in the military. About 4,000 are Snohomish County residents, and today the county plans to mail them their ballots for the Nov. 6 election.

Federal law requires states to send ballots to military and overseas voters no later than 45 days before the general election; that deadline is Saturday. The purpose of the early send-off is to ensure adequate time for ballots to be delivered and returned.

Ballots to the rest of the state’s 3.76 million voters will go out Oct. 19.

“There are thousands of Washingtonians serving in the military and stationed in faraway lands. Many of our citizens are working or studying abroad or serving in the Peace Corps or other organizations,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said.

“Regardless of their locale, we hope our military and overseas voters take this opportunity to vote and help shape our government, even while they are currently far away from us,” he said.

As of Tuesday, Snohomish County planned to mail ballots to 2,479 voters in the military and to 1,536 residing outside the state, said county elections director Garth Fell. More ballots could be mailed overseas in the next 45 days as voters abroad, realizing the election is close, ask for ballots to be sent to them.

Collectively, they are destined for addresses in nearly every state, on every continent and to military bases around the globe, according to data compiled by Fell.

Within the U.S., the most, 136, are going to California, followed by 130 to Virginia, 46 to Hawaii and 42 to Texas. And there are ballots going to one voter each in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Of those getting sent outside the U.S., the biggest batch, 181, will land in Canada. There will be 66 heading to post office boxes in the United Kingdom, 43 to Australia and 39 to Japan. Twenty-three registered Snohomish County voters will get their ballots in China, while one will find its way to a voter in Zambia.

Why is it possible for someone to help choose the next governor of Washington from a home anywhere in the world?

Registered voters who maintain a residential address in the county can designate where they want to receive their ballot, Fell said. This allows people to participate in the election while on vacation, away for college or deployed for military service, he said.

Voters who want to receive their ballot at an address other than the one where they registered should contact the county elections office at 425-388-3444.

Where the ballots are going

Approximate number of ballots sent to military bases

• Armed Forces Pacific Arena — 202

• Armed Forces European Arena — 159

• Armed Forces Americas Arena — 6

Approximate number of ballots sent to states (includes territories and commonwealths)*

• California — 136

• Virginia — 130

• Hawaii — 46

• Texas — 42

• North Carolina — 39

• Florida — 38

• Maryland — 36

• Colorado — 24

• Georgia — 20

• New York — 15

• Arizona — 14

• South Carolina — 14

• Alaska — 13

• Louisiana — 13

• Oregon — 13

• Illinois — 11

• Nebraska — 11

• Tennessee — 11

• Massachusetts — 10

• Alabama — 9

• Pennsylvania — 9

• Kansas — 8

• New Jersey — 8

• Ohio — 8

• Utah — 8

• Nevada — 7

• Oklahoma — 7

• Rhode Island — 7

• District of Columbia — 6

• Idaho — 6

• Missouri — 6

• Mississippi — 6

• Montana — 6

• New Mexico — 6

• Wisconsin — 6

• Arizona — 4

• Connecticut — 4

• Delaware — 3

• Indiana — 3

• Maine — 3

• South Dakota — 3

• Kentucky — 2

• Michigan — 2

• Northern Marianas — 2

• North Dakota — 2

• Puerto Rico — 1

• Iowa — 1

• Montana — 1

• New Hampshire — 1

• Wyoming —1

* No ballots are expected to be sent today to Vermont or West Virginia.

Approximate number of ballots sent to other countries and areas*

• Canada — 181

• United Kingdom — 66

• Australia — 43

• Japan — 39

• Germany — 38

• China — 23

• Thailand — 23

• Philippines — 22

• France — 18

• New Zealand — 17

• Norway — 15

• Mexico — 12

• Belgium — 11

• Ireland — 11

• South Korea — 10

• Switzerland — 10

• Netherlands — 9

• India — 8

• Spain — 8

• Taiwan — 8

• Hong Kong — 7

• Denmark — 6

• Finland — 6

• Indonesia — 6

• Italy — 6

• Sweden — 6

• Brazil — 5

• Kenya — 5

• Poland — 5

• Saudi Arabia — 5

• Cambodia — 4

• Greece — 4

• Israel — 4

• United Arab Emirites — 4

• Austria — 3

• Bangladesh — 3

• Chile — 3

• Czech Republic — 3

• Nicaragua — 3

• Portugal — 3

• South America — 3

• Argentina — 2

• Colombia — 2

• Costa Rica — 2

• Egypt — 2

• Ethiopia — 2

• Malaysia — 2

• Paraguay — 2

• Peru — 2

• Russia — 2

• Singapore — 2

• South Africa — 2

• Tanzania — 2

• Afghanistan — 1

• Africa — 1

• Afriq D L’Ouest — 1

• Arabian Gulf — 1

• Benin — 1

• Bolvia — 1

• Central America — 1

• Cyprus — 1

• East Africa — 1

• Ecuador — 1

• El Salvador — 1

• Estonia — 1

• Guatemala — 1

• Honduras — 1

• Hungary — 1

• Italy — 1

• Korea — 1

• Laos — 1

• Lebanon — 1

• Lithuania — 1

• Luxembourg — 1

• Madagascar — 1

• Montenegro — 1

• Morocco — 1

• Mozambique — 1

• Pakistan — 1

• Palestine — 1

• Panama — 1

• Rwanda — 1

• Southeast Asia — 1

• Sierra Leone — 1

• Slovakia — 1

• Syria — 1

• Togo — 1

• Turkey — 1

• Uganda — 1

• Ukraine — 1

• Uruguay — 1

• Uzbekistan — 1

• Virgin Islands — 1

• West Africa — 1

• Yugoslavia — 1

• Zambia — 1

* Locations are provided by the voters

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

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