How to register to vote:
Before you can vote in Washington state, you must register. Registration can be done several ways: Online, by mail or in person.
To register online you'll need your Washington state driver's license or ID. Visit Votewa.gov and submit your information.
To register in person, visit your county election office (the Elections Division is open for curbside service during the pandemic).
To register to vote, you must be:
- A citizen of the United States
- A legal resident of Washington state
- At least 18 years old by Election Day
- Not disqualified from voting due to a court order
- Not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction.
Dates and deadlines:
July 16: Ballots are mailed. Start of 18-day voting period begins.
July 26: Online and mail registrations must be received at least eight days before Election Day. You can register to vote in person any time before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Aug. 3: Deadline for voter registration or updates.
Aug. 3: Deposit ballot in an official drop box by 8 p.m.
Oct. 15: Ballots are mailed. Start of 18-day voting period begins.
Oct. 25: Online and mail registrations must be received at least eight days before Election Day. You can register to vote in person any time before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Nov. 2: Deadline for voter registration or updates.
Nov. 2: Deposit ballot in an official drop box by 8 p.m.
Voting by mail:
Washington has been a vote by mail state since 2011.
Registered voters do not need to request a ballot. Ballots are automatically mailed to the address the voter has registered.
Confirm your registration at VoteWA.gov.
Completed ballots can be dropped off at an official drop box or by mail. Stamps are not needed to mail a completed ballot.
Ballots must be deposited or postmarked by Election Day. The U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail ballots a week prior.
Ballots must be signed. Signatures are checked against voter registration records.
Eligible voters are sent a ballot at least 18 days before Election Day.
Ballots are placed in a security envelope or sleeve.
The security envelope or sleeve is then put into a return envelope and signed.
Ballots have pre-paid postage and are returned through the mail or at ballot drop boxes. (If mailed, it must be postmarked by Election Day). Drop boxes are open until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Tracking your ballot:
After dropping off or mailing a ballot, voters can track the status of their ballot by visiting VoteWA.gov.
Voters must sign in.
On the navigation bar, select "Ballot Status."
Information includes when the ballot was sent, when it was returned and its current status.
How ballots are processed:
After a ballot is delivered, envelopes are scanned and marked as "received" in the state system.
They are sorted by precinct and district.
Signatures on ballots are checked against voter registration records. (Voters are contacted before processing if a signature is missing or doesn't match)
Envelopes are opened and the security sleeve is removed.
Ballots are removed from the security sleeve.
Ballots are reviewed for scanning issues, then scanned and stored.
Local and national races will appear on your ballot.
Here's a look at some of the key races in the Washington state Aug. 3 primary election:
King County executive
For the first time since 2009, incumbent Dow Constantine is facing a serious challenger for King County executive.
State Sen. Joe Nguyen is challenging Constantine, who is seeking his fourth term.
Constantine hasn't faced a serious challenge since 2009 when he was first elected over former TV anchor Susan Hutchison.
Nguyen believes further reforms are needed in the King County Sheriff's Office and that he believes Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht should resign, rather than retire as his opponent has suggested.
Nguyen called out Constantine for his support of the construction of a new youth jail.
Constantine previously said he didn't see a difference in values with Nguyen and said he will take his campaign seriously. He defended his leadership on the youth jail, pointing out that the old building had asbestos and "rusty water;" the new building is half the size in an effort to reduce youth detention, he said.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's choice not to seek another term has led to a wide-open race and extensive fundraising.
Colleen Echohawk: Is the executive director of the nonprofit Chief Seattle Club. She received numerous awards for her service and time on advocacy for the homeless, and in particular, unsheltered Native Americans. She is the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness.
Raised about $408,000 in private donations and Democracy vouchers.
Jessyn Farrell: The former state representative served in the Washington state Legislature for four years before leaving to run for Seattle mayor back in 2017. She finished fourth in the primary that year. She has been a longtime transit and environmental activist and once served as the executive director of the nonprofit Transportation Choices Coalition, which has been an incubator for future elected leaders.
Raised about $224,000 in private donations and Democracy vouchers.
M. Lorena González: The Seattle City Council president became one of the most high-profile candidates to enter the race when she announced her campaign in February. González talked at length about her vision for bringing Seattle out of an economic funk, along with homelessness and policing. She's defended the new regional approach to homelessness, saying, "We also need to address the livability concerns.”
Raised about $377,351 in private donations and Democracy vouchers.
Bruce Harrell: The three-term Seattle City Council member and president served from 2008 to 2019. He briefly served as mayor following Ed Murray's resignation. Harrell said he wants broader participation when it comes to addressing the homelessness issue and wants to create a job center to train and empower. In regards to police accountability, he said he would ask every sworn police officer to watch the video that shows the murder of George Floyd and sign a statement that says "the inhumane treatment of fellow human beings will not be tolerated in Seattle."
Raised about $399,500 in private donations and Democracy vouchers.
Andrew Grant Houston: A Capitol Hill resident, Houston is the founder of Design of House Cosmopolitan and board member of Futurewise. He is a member of organizations such as Share the Cities, Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council and Sunrise Movement. He serves as interim policy manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.
On his candidate website, Houston says it's "time to transform our economy in response and preparation to the uncertainty that comes with climate change." That includes fair wages, investment in sustainable infrastructure and more.
Raised about $408,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers.
Arthur Langlie: Langlie is self-described as a political independent and centrist focused on "developing collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships that bring together diverse thinkers and doers for a common purpose." This approach can "accelerate cures for homelessness" while restoring downtown, expanding local businesses, reorganize public safety, and allocate resources more equitably, his website states.
Raised about $121,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers.
Three names will appear on the ballot for mayor of Tacoma. Of those, however, incumbent Victoria Woodards is the only one who has received substantial contributions.
Woodards has been mayor since 2018. Before that she served for seven years as an at-large member of the Tacoma City Council.
Also appearing on the ballot is Jamika Scott, who raised about $6,400 and Steve Haverly, who reported no contributions.
UPDATE: Incumbent Cassie Franklin, who took office in 2018, and challenger Steve Oss will automatically advance to the general election after Ron Wittock dropped out of the race.
Whittock will appear on the primary ballot due to the timing of his decision. However, even if he were to get enough votes to advance to the general election, he is out of the running.
Franklin was the first female to be elected mayor of Everett. She says she is focused on economic development, public safety and civic engagement.
In his candidate statement, Oss focuses on supporting businesses and addressing "Everett's deficit now."
Oss did not report campaign contributions.
Seattle City Council
Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda faces a number of opponents in the bid for an at-large position on the Seattle City Council.
Mosqueda raised $176,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers, well past any of her opponents.
Mosqueda was elected to the council in 2017. Among her proposed legislation is the recently-upheld payroll tax that will tax businesses that spend $7 million or more on payroll in the city.
Several well-known names are on the ballot to replace outgoing council President Lorena González for her at-large position on the council.
Co-owner of Fremont Brewing Sara Nelson, who ran against Mosqueda in 2017, said she decided to run to help "get the city back on track," and wants to get the voice of a small business owner on the council.
Nelson raised $210,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers.
Attorney and civic activist Nikkita Oliver, who ran for Seattle mayor in 2017, says on their campaign website that "meeting basic needs is a baseline for community safety." The city needs affordable and social housing, equitable transportation, affordable child care, fully funded schools, and more, their website states.
Oliver raised $187,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers.
Brianna Thomas, chief of staff for González, said she saw the opportunity to step in and serve and lead. It is her second attempt to run for the council. She was unsuccessful in 2015, but said now, "I think in 2015, I was full of enthusiasm, which I still am. But coming from a place of advocacy, I was one of those folks telling my elected officials what I wanted to see."
Thomas raised $115,000 in donations and Democracy vouchers.
King County Council
Three King County Council members face competition for their positions – District 3, 7 and 9.
District 3 incumbent Kathy Lambert faces Joe Cohen and Sarah Perry.
District 7 incumbent Pete von Reichbauer is up against Lydei Assefa-Dawson, Dominique Torgerson and Saudia J. Abdullah.
District 9 incumbent Reagan Dunn faces Ubax Gardheere, Chris Franco and Kim-Khanh Van.
Two people are campaigning for District 1 and will automatically move on to the general election.