Saturday, July 2, 2016
By Evan Smith
The Independence Day holiday will have little impact on the July 4 voter registration deadline for the August 2 primary election.
Anyone can register or file a change of address online through midnight Monday. They also can register by mail if they can find a post office that will give them a postmark before midnight Monday, July 4.
New Washington voters can register through July 25, but after July 4 they must register in person at either the King County elections office in Renton or the County Elections Voter Registration Annex, King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Ave, Room 440, Seattle.
Any currently registered Washington voter who doesn’t file a change of address will get a ballot sent to his or her old address with ballot items for the old address.
State law sets 29 days before an election as the deadline for voters to register online or by mail or to update an existing registration, with new Washington voters allowed to register in person at a county elections office.
Voters who register on line or by mail can send registration material through July 4, although mail voters need to be aware of early pick-up times at some post offices. Some post offices may not postmark mail left Sunday or Monday.
The surest way to register or to file an address change before midnight Monday deadline is online.
Mail registration forms are available at local libraries. Forms also are available online.
Having the registration deadline on the Fourth of July is new.
It came about as Washington’s primary-election day moved earlier in August.
That has meant that the 29-day registration deadline has come earlier than before.
The deadline for decades was 30 days before an election, which meant that the deadline was on a Sunday. That led some counties to keep an elections office open on the weekend for few or no customers. So the Legislature cut the deadline from 30 to 29 days and added the eight-day in-person deadline for new Washington voters.
Primary Election Day has moved earlier to give elections officials time to certify results in time for general-election ballots to be printed in time for the early mailing required for military and overseas voters.
Evan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.