The Office of the Secretary of State is encouraging people to start preparing now for the Nov. 3 general election.

Even though ballots won’t be mailed until Oct. 16 at the latest, voters can begin preparing for the election now. The Office of the Secretary of State’s elections web page offers Washingtonians an array of resources and information, including general election dates and deadlines, profiles on local and state candidates, details on ballot measures, an online voter Guide, a map of and links to county elections offices, a vote-by-mail tutorial, and more.

To ensure you are prepared to vote and your ballots are returned on time, consider the following tips:

Before your ballot arrives

  • If you’re not registered to vote, register today either online, on paper, or in person.
  • Online: Visit VoteWA.gov and register using your Washington state driver’s license or I.D. To qualify for the Nov. 3 election, the deadline to register online is Oct. 26.
  • On paper: Print and fill out the form (available in 23 languages), and return it by mail or in-person at a county elections office or voting center. Forms must be received no later than Oct. 26. To locate your county’s elections office, click here.
  • In-person: You can visit a county elections office or voting center and register. Contact a county elections office to inquire about hours of operation, curbside registration, and other minimal-contact services. You can register and vote in person at a county elections office through 8 p.m. election night.
  • Check VoteWA.gov as soon as possible to ensure your address and other voter registration information is up to date.
  • Begin researching the candidates and issues by logging in to VoteWA.gov to view your personalized voters’ guide.

When your ballot arrives

  • Even though Washington state has an 18-day voting period, don’t wait until Election Day to vote. Fill out your ballot, sign the postage-paid return envelope, and return it as soon as possible.
  • Place your sealed ballot in an official USPS blue mailbox. If you mail your completed ballot via U.S. mail, note the mailbox collection times. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 to be counted. The USPS recommends voters return their ballots via mail at least a week before Election Day.
  • Or, you may place it in any of the nearly 500 official ballot drop boxes statewide up to 8 p.m. election night. Find drop-box locations near you at VoteWA.gov.