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Elections officials warn last-minute Washington voters could face hours-long lines

In-person voter registration in Washington state is possible through Election Day, but officials warn voters not to delay.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — While Washington is a vote-by-mail state, elections officials are still worried about long lines on Election Day. That's because residents can still register to vote in-person through Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

“If they come on Tuesday, come with a full tank of gas and expect a long wait,” said Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall.

This will be the first presidential election since the state allowed voters to register on Election Days, starting in 2019.

Hall said, with potential record turnout in the presidential election, she is prepared for more than a thousand voters hoping to register and vote on Election Day. 

RELATED: Washington voters can register in-person up until Election Day

COVID-19 restrictions caused Thurston County to move its election headquarters from the courthouse to the campus of South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. 

The pedestrian walkways of the campus have been turned into a drive-through for voters who need to register, get replacement ballots, or for those who need assistance voting because of disabilities.

Hall hired the Thurston County Fair’s crowd control and parking coordinator to help elections officials handle last-minute voters.

She hopes they’ll come ahead of Election Day.

“We really hope people will vote this ballot early and we are open Saturday,” Hall said.