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Secretary of state issues new postage rule for Washington ballots

Under the new rule, at least 15 days before the election, any replacement ballots or ballots for newly registered voters would be mailed with first-class postage.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman issued an emergency rule change Wednesday that requires county officials to use first-class mail at least 15 days before Election Day when sending ballots to voters in October.

By law, ballots must be sent to voters no later than Oct. 16, with the initial mailing sent at a nonprofit bulk rate, which guarantees a delivery time between three and 10 days.

Under the new rule, at least 15 days before the election, any replacement ballots or ballots for newly registered voters would be mailed with first-class postage, with a delivery window between two and five days.

“Closer to Election Day, many counties throughout Washington already switch over to First Class mail to ensure voters receive materials with enough time to cast their ballots,” said Wyman. “This will provide more consistency statewide, and give voters some peace of mind heading into the Nov. 3 General Election.”

The United States Postal Service recommended that voters mail their ballots a week before the election.

Voters in Washington state do not need to use a stamp when returning their ballot by mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than election day. Residents can also return their ballot at one of the nearly 500 ballot drop boxes located across the state.