Editorial: Don’t let a stamp keep you from voting

By The Herald Editorial Board

Along with the expected tools for filing out your mail-in ballot for the Nov. 8 election — a blue or black ink pen and your voters’ pamphlet — you may also find you’ll need a refill on your coffee and an extra stamp.

Snohomish County voters will see a longer-than-typical ballot when they begin arriving in mailboxes after Oct. 20, the longest ballot in 10 years. Along with national elections for president and Congress, a full slate of state offices and legislative seats and a county council race are seven statewide initiatives, seven proposed amendments to the county charter, two advisory tax measures to the Legislature and a proposed revision to the state Constitution, The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield reported Monday.

There so many initiatives and other ballot measures that the nation’s presidential race has been relegated to the reverse of the first page of the ballot. All things considered, maybe that’s an appropriate place for it.

But the length of the ballot, and its weight in the mail-in envelope, means you’ll need to attach 68 cents postage, rather than one Forever stamp.

As far as barriers to voting go, extra postage isn’t a huge hurdle, but state and county elections officials don’t want to give prospective voters any excuse not to get their ballots in. Snohomish County, like other counties, encourages voters to take their ballots to a drop box if they want to save money on postage.

As with past elections, drop boxes will be in placed throughout the county in Arlington, Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish and Stanwood. The county auditor’s office also will be sending out a mobile drop box van to Darrington and Sultan on Nov. 6; Granite Falls and Tulalip’s Quil Ceda Village on Nov. 7; and the Everett Mall and Mountlake Terrace Library on Nov. 8.

As a matter of policy, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver your ballot if it has no postage or insufficient postage, but the cost is passed on to individual county election offices.

Tina Podlodowski, a Democrat and former Seattle City Council member who is challenging the Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, has advocated a number of measures to encourage voter turnout, including free postage for ballots. But that’s a cost that the state should pick up, and it hasn’t been a priority for the Legislature.

Wyman has gone to the Legislature in previous sessions, without success, seeking funding for similar measures, including printing and postage of a statewide printed version of the voters guide.

Compared to other states in the nation, were voter identification laws have been challenged in court, Washington state citizens face few barriers to exercising their right to vote. Once you’ve registered to vote — which can be done with relative ease either in person, by mail or online — you need only wait for you ballot in the mail, fill it out, place it in the envelope and take it to a mailbox — stamped, of course — or a ballot drop box.

Register to vote

If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register in person at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office up until Oct. 31, for the Nov. 8 general election.

You can also register by mail or online by Oct. 10.

For more information on registration, call the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office at 425-388-3444 or the Secretary of State at 800-448-4881, or go to www.sos.wa.gov.

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