South End Guide | General Elections on November 8th: Register and Vote!


by Phil Manzano

The Jan. 6 hearings focused the country on the most fundamental foundation of American democracy: the right to vote.

Here at South Seattle Emeraldwe are part of the Voter Education Fund, a non-partisan King County project to encourage as many potential voters as possible to register and vote.

As King County Elections Director Julie Wise said in one emerald Interview: “Democracy is at its best when all voices are heard. That’s how it should be. My dream is 100% voter registration rate and 100% turnout.”

Part of the effort to keep voting moving forward, this guide consists of a calendar, events and news, and questions and answers on how, when and where to vote. It will be updated with events and news as needed, so check back from time to time.

Important election dates

18 Oct: Local voter brochures sent out.

19 Oct: Ballot papers sent out for the general election.

19 Oct: The voting center at the King County Elections opens for the general election.

20 Oct: ballot boxes open.

24 Oct: Voting statistics are available until 8 p.m

31 Oct: Deadline to register or update your registration online or by post for the general election.

Nov 8: Election day. Ballots must be stamped today or returned to a ballot box by 8:00 p.m

Nov 8: Last day to register in person and vote for the general election.

Nov 8: Election day results were released at 8:15 p.m

news and events

Future Voter Centers

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) “hosts pop-up future voter hubs — and offers a variety of support services to empower voters. Learn more about voting eligibility, register to vote, print your personalized ballot and voter guide, and vote with us! This is a safe place to learn how ALL community members have voting!

Here are the Future Voter Hub times and locations for the month of October:

  • Future Voter Hub: Burien LibraryOct 21, 1-5pm, 400 SW 152nd St, Burien
  • Future Voter Hub: Federal Way LibraryOct. 24, 10:00 a.m., 34200 1st Way S, Federal Way
  • Future Voter Hub: Tukwila LibraryOctober 25, 1-5 p.m., 14380 Tukwila International Blvd., Tukwila
  • Future voting hub: Columbia City LibraryOctober 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4721 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle
  • Future Voter Hub: Renton LibraryOctober 26, 3-7 p.m., 100 Mill Ave. S, Renton
  • Future Voter Hub: Skyway LibraryOct. 27, 1-5 p.m., 12601 76th Ave. S, Seattle
  • Future Voter Hub: Rainier Beach LibraryOctober 28, 1-5 p.m., 9125 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle

For more information about the Future Voter Hubs, contact Jude Ahmed at [email protected]

Combating misinformation in elections

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs and King County Elections Director Julie Wise held a joint news conference last week to combat misinformation and disinformation about the election process in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

“In all my years,” Wise said, “I have never witnessed an election landscape like the one we find ourselves in today.”

“We’re seeing outright lies and conspiracy theories spreading quickly online,” Wise said. “We receive comments online, emails and phone calls accusing me and my staff of voter fraud – a crime under the law – based on click-bait headlines and simply not understanding how our elections work.

Hobbs said the Vote with Confidence Campaign will air commercials on TV and radio and place commercials in places like gas stations and convenience stores to give people information about voting, registering and finding information about the voting process.

Read the story and/or watch the full press conference.

ballots and pamphlets

Voter brochures and ballot papers for the November 8 general election will be sent out 18 Oct and 19 Octand 1.4 million registered voters in King County. Ballots are sent out about three weeks before an election; If you are registered to vote, you will receive a ballot. If you have not received your ballot, call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683).

Who can vote?

According to the King County Elections website, almost every adult who:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Legal residence in Washington
  • At least 18 years old on election day
  • Not disqualified by court order, not currently incarcerated on a federal or state or extrastate felony conviction.

A new Washington state law restores the right to vote for those who have served a prison sentence. Upon release from prison, the right to vote will be restored, but people will have to re-register to vote. For more detailed information for voters with a criminal conviction or for those who do not live, visit the King County Elections website.

Also new this year are voting rights for 16- and 17-year-olds, detailed in the Future Voter program. A 17-year-old who turns 18 in the November general election will be able to vote in the August 2 primary. In Washington, 16- and 17-year-olds can sign up to be automatically registered to vote if they are eligible.

How to register to vote

Registering to vote is easy. You can register online or by post to vote up to 8 days before an election or in person up to the day of the election. You need a Washington driver’s license to register online, but not for mail or in-person registration. Visit the King County Elections website for more information.

Where can I vote?

In King County, absentee voting means the convenience and privacy of your home.

Additionally, on July 14, King County opened its newest and 75th ballot box dropbox location at Woodinville City Hall, the first dropbox in the Woodinville city limits.

According to a press release, over 96% of registered voters live within 3 miles of a mailbox location. As a rule, about half of the voters return their ballots in the mailbox.

Mailboxes are open 24 hours a day and are emptied at least once a day during an election.

“Dropboxes are key to making elections accessible here in King County and in Washington State,” said Julie Wise, King County Director of Elections. “Constructed of 1/4-inch thick steel, bolted directly into concrete, equipped with multiple locking mechanisms and tamper-evident seals, drop boxes are not only convenient, but secure as well.”

Visit the King County Elections website for a list and interactive map of all Dropbox locations in King County.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to remove an event due to a move to an invitation-only format.

This story was funded in part by a grant from the Voter Education Fund of King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation.

Phil Manzano is a South Seattle-based writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in daily journalism, most recently serving as news editor for Emerald.

📸 Featured Image: Photo courtesy of King County Elections.

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