Voting by Mail
Washington state votes by mail. To receive your ballot, your mailing address must be current. Your ballot will not be forwarded to your new address by the post office.
If you are temporarily away, such as serving in the military, attending college, or spending the winter in another state, but Clark County is your home of permanent residence, you can request that your ballot is mailed to where you currently reside. Please make your request at least 29 days before Election Day to allow the ballot to arrive at your mailing address on time.
How to vote your ballot
Your ballot is mailed to you at least 18 days before each election. Your ballot packet will include a ballot, a yellow secrecy envelope and a white return envelope. Follow the instructions that accompany your ballot. If you need a replacement ballot, contact the Elections Office.
Your ballot must be:
- Postmarked no later than Election Day; or
- Returned to a designated ballot drop box by 8 pm on Election Day; or
- Returned in person to the Elections Office by 8 pm on Election Day.
Note: A stamp is not necessary if you deposit your ballot in a ballot drop box.
If you fail to sign the ballot declaration on the white return envelope, or the signature on the ballot declaration does not match the signature in your voter registration record, the Elections Office will contact you. If you are physically present and unable to sign the declaration, make a mark in front of two witnesses and have them sign in the designated spaces. It is a felony to sign another voter's ballot.
If your ballot is lost or damaged, you can get a replacement ballot from the Elections Office at 1408 Franklin Street, Vancouver, or by calling (360) 397-2345.
You can check the status of your ballot at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/myvote/.
Ballot processing and secrecy
It is essential to the integrity of an election that ballot processing be accurate and transparent, while maintaining your right to a secret ballot. After you return your voted ballot, the Elections Office follows this ballot counting process:
- Your signature on the white return envelope is checked against the signature on file in your voter registration record to make sure they match.
- You are credited for voting in that election. This ensures that only one ballot from each voter is counted.
- The white return envelope, which identifies you, is then separated from the yellow secrecy envelope, which contains your voted ballot. Your ballot cannot be traced back to you, ensuring the secrecy of your vote.
- All ballots are inspected to make sure the tabulating machine will be able to read all votes. Tabulation equipment is tested before every election to make sure it is working accurately.
You are welcome to observe ballot processing. Contact the Elections Office to arrange a time.