Local elections offices mailing ballots earlier than normal due to USPS delays

Spokane County ballots mailed today and tomorrow
Spokane County ballots mailed today and tomorrow

SPOKANE, Wash. — Several counties in Eastern Washington will be mailing ballots out earlier than normal due to recent delays with the United States Postal Service.

Typically, ballots are sent 18 days prior to Election Day in Washington; giving voters about two and a half weeks to complete and return them.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said ballots were scheduled to be mailed on October 15, but will now be mailed a week earlier, on October 9.

“About half of the ballots will travel through the mail from the voter to us,” Dalton said. “Out of an abundance of caution, the counties and the Secretary of State’s Office agreed that we should provide as much transit time as we could. Some counties, but not all, were able to shift production schedules a little bit. Some counties were able to gain about a week while other counties were able to gain only a day or two.”

Dalton said many of the state’s 39 counties are mailing ballots early, including Adams, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Whitman Counties. She said this will not only give voters more time to return their ballots, but also expands the window of time for voters who do not receive their ballot during the first mailing (i.e. it does not arrive, the voter has moved, etc). This will give local elections offices an additional week to get in contact with that voter, send them a new ballot and allow them to return it.

In Washington state, completed ballots can be returned by mail; no postage required. Ballots can also be returned through a county elections office drop box.

RELATED: #4ThePeople: Where to return your ballot and how to track it

Below is a map of all the drop boxes in local counties.

Ballots for the upcoming general election are due by 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3.

READ: #4ThePeople: We bring your ballot security questions directly to the source

RELATED: #4ThePeople: How to register to vote in Washington and Idaho

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