Ballots for the upcoming general election — widely regarded as the most consequential U.S. election in a generation — are being mailed to Clark County voters today.
Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey confirmed that there were 309,111 ballots sitting in the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Portland as of Thursday. Another 7,000 ballots or so have already been mailed to voters living or traveling abroad.
“People will begin receiving ballots in their mailboxes (today), on Friday,” Kimsey said.
“It’s starting to feel like there’s an election going on,” he joked.
And they are busy; staff members are preparing for a massive election on Nov. 3. Kimsey confirmed they’re predicting a 90 percent turnout, which would be historic.
“This would be the biggest turnout in my experience of 22 years,” Kimsey said. “In the last 20 years, the highest turnout was 85 percent in 2008.”
Kimsey and his staff are basing that prediction on the August primary election, when more than half of the county’s registered voters cast their ballots. For comparison, primary election turnout in 2008 was 37.9 percent. In 2012 and 2016, the most recent presidential election years, voter turnout in the primary election hovered around 30 percent.
The number of registered voters is rising, too. As of June, there were 297,888 active voters registered in Clark County — that means more than 18,000 Clark County residents have signed up to vote in the last four months.
They’ll help decide whether to re-elect President Donald Trump or replace him with former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee. The same goes for U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Carolyn Long, her Democratic challenger.
Clark County voters will also weigh in on statewide races including governor and secretary of state, as well as legislative races. Voters will decide who fills two seats on the Clark County Council, and select every member of the county’s Charter Review Commission.
Ballots should appear in the mailboxes of registered voters no later than Wednesday, Oct. 21. Any registered voter who hasn’t received the ballot by then should contact the county elections office as quickly as possible.
The earlier a voter reports a problem, the more options they’ll have — they can print a replacement ballot online, request a replacement in the mail, or visit the Elections Office to vote in person. As Nov. 3 approaches, those options dwindle.
The Clark County Elections Office is at 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver. Voters can reach staff during regular office hours by phone at 564-397-2345 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County elections staff plan to collect the first round of ballots Saturday morning, Kimsey said.
Am I registered?
If you’re unsure whether you’re registered to vote — or whether your address is up-to-date — visit voter.votewa.gov. You’ll be asked to enter your name and your birthdate, and if you’re registered, the online database will reflect the information used to send your ballot. If your address is no longer correct, you can update it online.
If you’re not registered, there’s still time to do so. If you have a valid Washington driver’s license, permit or identification card, you can register to vote online until Oct. 26.
If you don’t have any of those documents, you can register to vote via mail until Oct. 26. The voter registration form can be found at sos.wa.gov/elections/print-voter-registration-forms.aspx — print it, fill it out, and mail it to P.O. Box 8815 Vancouver, WA 98666-8815.
Finally, you can still register to vote in person at the Clark County Elections Office until and including Election Day. In-person registration closes at 8 p.m. Nov. 3.