Even though 2,000 Whatcom County voters were removed from the active rolls after the August primary, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, officials said.
But if voters suspect that they might be on the inactive list, they should contact the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office, which conducts local elections, said Elections Supervisor Amy Grasher.
Ballots go in the mail Oct. 17 to the county’s 140,636 registered voters, Grasher said in an interview this week.
“If they haven’t received a ballot within a week after they’ve been mailed, they should call to make sure they get re-activated,” she said.
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Grasher said voters can go online to myvote.wa.gov or ball calling 360-778-5100 to update their registration status and print a replacement ballot.
“We won’t mail you a ballot unless you call us,” Grasher said.
Voters removed from the active rolls recently were those whose Aug. 7 primary ballots were returned by the Postal Service as undeliverable in Washington’s vote-by-mail system, meaning they didn’t live at the address where they were registered.
Chief Deputy Auditor Diana Bradrick said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald that she suspects a fair number of the ballots that were returned undelivered belonged to students and others who moved without changing their addresses.
“What we would love is for those 2,000 to contact us and get activated,” Bradrick said. “Washington is very inclusive and we go to great lengths to make sure that people can vote.”
Monday was the last day for in-person, mail-in and online registrations or address changes, but voters listed as inactive can still vote like any registered voter, Grasher said.
“Any active or inactive voter in Washington state can update their address on MyVote now, however, it will not be processed until after the general election,” Grasher said in an email.
For an inactive voter to get a ballot for the general election, they can call, email, or visit the county where they are currently registered to reactive their registration. The county election division would then activate their registration and mail the voter a ballot (log into MyVote and view “Voter Registration Details” to view the status and county). An inactive voter could also download and print a replacement ballot from MyVote (select MyBallot). Their registration would become active once the county election division receives their ballot.
New Washington state voters can still register in person until Oct. 29.
Ballots must be postmarked by the symbolic poll-closing time of 8 p.m. Nov. 6 or placed in one of 11 ballot boxes scattered around the county.
Mailing a ballot doesn’t guarantee that it will be postmarked by the deadline, however.
Bradrick told The Bellingham Herald in July that many ballots aren’t counted every election because they weren’t postmarked in time.
Whatcom ballot box locations
▪ Acme Elementary, 5200 Turkington Road.
▪ Blaine Library, 610 3rd St.
▪ Birch Bay (North Whatcom Fire & Rescue), 4581 Birch Bay-Lynden Road.
▪ Custer Elementary, 7660 Custer School Road.
▪ Courthouse South Parking Lot, 201 Grand Ave.
▪ Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Highway.
▪ Everson WECU, 106 E Main St.
▪ Ferndale City Hall 2095 Main St.
▪ Lummi Nation Administration Building, 2665 Kwina Road.
▪ Lynden Library, 216 4th St.
▪ Meridian (Laurel Grange), 6172 Guide Meridian.
▪ Kendall (North Fork Community Library), 7506 Kendall Road.
▪ Point Roberts Marketplace (8 a.m.-10 p.m.), 480 Tyee Drive.
▪ Sehome Haggens, (northeast corner of the parking lot), 210 36th St.
▪ Sudden Valley Sudden Valley Security Turnaround, Gate One.
▪ Sumas, 534 Railroad Ave.
▪ Whatcom Community College, 237 W Kellogg Road.
▪ WWU (outside Wade King Student Recreation Center), 1880 Bill McDonald Parkway.