USA Washington

USA Statutes : washington
Title : Elections
Chapter : Absentee voting
RCW 29A.40.010When permitted.Any registered voter of the state or any out-of-state voter, overseas voter, or service voter may vote by absentee ballot in any general election, special election, or primary in the manner provided in this chapter. Out-of-state voters, overseas voters, and service voters are authorized to cast the same ballots, including those for special elections, as a registered voter of the state would receive under this chapter.[2003 c 111 § 1001. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 1; 1991 c 81 § 29; 1987 c 346 § 9; 1986 c 167 § 14; 1985 c 273 § 1; 1984 c 27 § 1; 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 76; 1974 ex.s. c 35 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 202 § 37; 1965 c 9 § 29.36.010; prior: 1963 ex.s. c 23 § 1; 1955 c 167 § 2; prior: (i) 1950 ex.s. c 8 § 1; 1943 c 72 § 1; 1933 ex.s. c 41 § 1; 1923 c 58 § 1; 1921 c 143 § 1; 1917 c 159 § 1; 1915 c 189 § 1; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 5280. (ii) 1933 ex.s. c 41 § 2, part; 1923 c 58 § 2, part; 1921 c 143 § 2, part; 1917 c 159 § 2, part; 1915 c 189 § 2, part; RRS § 5281, part. Formerly RCW 29.36.210, 29.36.010.]Notes:Effective date -- 1991 c 81: See note following RCW 29A.84.540.Legislative intent -- 1987 c 346: "By this act the legislature intends to combine and unify the laws and procedures governing absentee voting. These amendments are intended: (1) To clarify and incorporate into a single chapter of the Revised Code of Washington the preexisting statutes under which electors of this state qualify for absentee ballots under state law, federal law, or a combination of both state and federal law, and (2) to insure uniformity in the application, issuance, receipt, and canvassing of these absentee ballots. Nothing in this act is intended to impose any new requirement on the ability of the registered voters or electors of this state to qualify for, receive, or cast absentee ballots in any primary or election." [1987 c 346 § 1.]Effective date -- 1987 c 346: "This act shall take effect on January 1, 1988." [1987 c 346 § 25.]Severability -- 1986 c 167: See note following RCW 29A.04.049.Effective date -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: See notes following RCW 29A.16.040. RCW 29A.40.020Request for single ballot.(1) Except as otherwise provided by law, a registered voter or out-of-state voter, overseas voter, or service voter desiring to cast an absentee ballot at a single election or primary must request the absentee ballot from his or her county auditor no earlier than ninety days nor later than the day before the election or primary at which the person seeks to vote. Except as otherwise provided by law, the request may be made orally in person, by telephone, electronically, or in writing. An application or request for an absentee ballot made under the authority of a federal statute or regulation will be considered and given the same effect as a request for an absentee ballot under this chapter.  (2) A voter requesting an absentee ballot for a primary may also request an absentee ballot for the following general election. A request by an out-of-state voter, overseas voter, or service voter for an absentee ballot for a primary election will be considered as a request for an absentee ballot for the following general election.  (3) In requesting an absentee ballot, the voter shall state the address to which the absentee ballot should be sent. A request for an absentee ballot from an out-of-state voter, overseas voter, or service voter must include the address of the last residence in the state of Washington and either a written application or the oath on the return envelope must include a declaration of the other qualifications of the applicant as an elector of this state. A request for an absentee ballot from any other voter must state the address at which that voter is currently registered to vote in the state of Washington or the county auditor shall verify that information from the voter registration records of the county.  (4) A request for an absentee ballot from a registered voter who is within this state must be made directly to the auditor of the county in which the voter is registered. An absentee ballot request from a registered voter who is temporarily outside this state or from an out-of-state voter, overseas voter, or service voter may be made either to the appropriate county auditor or to the secretary of state, who shall promptly forward the request to the appropriate county auditor.  (5) No person, organization, or association may distribute absentee ballot applications within this state that contain a return address other than that of the appropriate county auditor.[2003 c 111 § 1002; 2001 c 241 § 2. Formerly RCW 29.36.220.] RCW 29A.40.030Request on behalf of family member.A member of a registered voter's family may request an absentee ballot on behalf of and for use by the voter. As a means of ensuring that a person who requests an absentee ballot is requesting the ballot for only that person or a member of the person's immediate family, an auditor may require a person who requests an absentee ballot to identify the date of birth of the voter for whom the ballot is requested and deny a request that is not accompanied by this information.[2003 c 111 § 1003. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 3. Formerly RCW 29.36.230.] RCW 29A.40.040Ongoing status Request Termination.Any registered voter may apply, in writing, for status as an ongoing absentee voter. Each qualified applicant shall automatically receive an absentee ballot for each ensuing election or primary for which the voter is entitled to vote and need not submit a separate request for each election. Ballots received from ongoing absentee voters shall be validated, processed, and tabulated in the same manner as other absentee ballots.  Status as an ongoing absentee voter shall be terminated upon any of the following events:  (1) The written request of the voter;  (2) The death or disqualification of the voter;  (3) The cancellation of the voter's registration record;  (4) The return of an ongoing absentee ballot as undeliverable; or  (5) Upon placing a voter on inactive status under RCW 29A.08.620.[2003 c 111 § 1004. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 4; 1999 c 298 § 12; 1993 c 418 § 1; 1991 c 81 § 30; 1987 c 346 § 10; 1986 c 22 § 1; 1985 c 273 § 2. Formerly RCW 29.36.240, 29.36.013.]Notes:Effective date -- 1991 c 81: See note following RCW 29A.84.540.Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010. RCW 29A.40.050Special ballots.(1) As provided in this section, county auditors shall provide special absentee ballots to be used for state primary or state general elections. An auditor shall provide a special absentee ballot only to a registered voter who completes an application stating that she or he will be unable to vote and return a regular absentee ballot by normal mail delivery within the period provided for regular absentee ballots.  The application for a special absentee ballot may not be filed earlier than ninety days before the applicable state primary or general election. The special absentee ballot will list the offices and measures, if known, scheduled to appear on the state primary or general election ballot. The voter may use the special absentee ballot to write in the name of any eligible candidate for each office and vote on any measure.  (2) With any special absentee ballot issued under this section, the county auditor shall include a listing of any candidates who have filed before the time of the application for offices that will appear on the ballot at that primary or election and a list of any issues that have been referred to the ballot before the time of the application.  (3) Write-in votes on special absentee ballots must be counted in the same manner provided by law for the counting of other write-in votes. The county auditor shall process and canvass the special absentee ballots provided under this section in the same manner as other absentee ballots under this chapter and chapter 29A.60 RCW.  (4) A voter who requests a special absentee ballot under this section may also request an absentee ballot under RCW 29A.40.020(4). If the regular absentee ballot is properly voted and returned, the special absentee ballot is void, and the county auditor shall reject it in whole when special absentee ballots are canvassed.[2003 c 111 § 1005; 2001 c 241 § 5; 1991 c 81 § 35; 1987 c 346 § 21. Formerly RCW 29.36.250, 29.36.170.]Notes:Effective date -- 1991 c 81: See note following RCW 29A.84.540.Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010. RCW 29A.40.070Date ballots available, mailed.(1) Except where a recount or litigation under *RCW 29A.68.010 is pending, the county auditor shall have sufficient absentee ballots available for absentee voters of that county at least twenty days before any primary, general election, or special election. The county auditor must mail absentee ballots to each voter for whom the county auditor has received a request nineteen days before the primary or election at least eighteen days before the primary or election. For a request for an absentee ballot received after the nineteenth day before the primary or election, the county auditor shall make every effort to mail ballots within one business day, and shall mail the ballots within two business days.  (2) The county auditor shall make every effort to mail ballots to overseas and service voters earlier than eighteen days before a primary or election.  (3) Each county auditor shall certify to the office of the secretary of state the dates the ballots prescribed in subsection (1) of this section were available and mailed.  (4) If absentee ballots will not be available or mailed as prescribed in subsection (1) of this section, the county auditor shall immediately certify to the office of the secretary of state when absentee ballots will be available and mailed. Copies of this certification must be provided to the county canvassing board, the press, jurisdictions with issues on the ballot in the election, and any candidates.  (5) If absentee ballots were not available or mailed as prescribed in subsection (1) of this section, for a reason other than a recount or litigation, the county auditor, in consultation with the certification and training program of the office of the secretary of state, shall submit a report to the office of the secretary of state outlining why the deadline was missed and what corrective actions will be taken in future elections to ensure that absentee ballots are available and mailed as prescribed in subsection (1) of this section.  (6) Failure to have absentee ballots available and mailed as prescribed in subsection (1) of this section does not by itself provide a basis for an election contest or other legal challenge to the results of a primary, general election, or special election.[2004 c 266 § 13. Prior: 2003 c 162 § 2; 2003 c 111 § 1007; prior: 1987 c 54 § 1; 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 56; 1965 ex.s. c 103 § 5; 1965 c 9 § 29.30.075; prior: 1949 c 161 § 10, part; 1947 c 234 § 2, part; 1935 c 26 § 1, part; 1921 c 178 § 4, part; 1907 c 209 § 8, part; Rem. Supp. 1949 § 5185, part. Formerly RCW 29.36.270, 29.30.075.]Notes:*Reviser's note: RCW 29A.68.010 was repealed by 2004 c 271 § 193. Later enactment, see RCW 29A.68.011.Effective date -- 2004 c 266: See note following RCW 29A.04.575.Policy -- 2003 c 162: "It is the policy of the state of Washington that individuals voting absentee and mail ballots receive their ballots in a timely and consistent manner before each election. Since many voters in Washington state have come to rely upon absentee and mail voting, mailing the ballots in a timely manner is critical in order to maximize participation by every eligible voter." [2003 c 162 § 1.]Effective date -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: See notes following RCW 29A.16.040. RCW 29A.40.080Delivery of ballot, qualifications for.The delivery of an absentee ballot for any primary or election shall be subject to the following qualifications:  (1) Only the registered voter personally, or a member of the registered voter's immediate family may pick up an absentee ballot for the voter at the office of the issuing officer unless the voter is a resident of a health care facility, as defined by RCW 70.37.020(3), on election day and applies by messenger for an absentee ballot. In this latter case, the messenger may pick up the voter's absentee ballot.  (2) Except as noted in subsection (1) of this section, the issuing officer shall mail or deliver the absentee ballot directly to each applicant.[2003 c 111 § 1008. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 7; 1984 c 27 § 2; 1965 c 9 § 29.36.035; prior: 1963 ex.s. c 23 § 4. Formerly RCW 29.36.280, 29.36.035.] RCW 29A.40.100Observers.County auditors must request that observers be appointed by the major political parties to be present during the processing of absentee ballots. The absence of the observers will not prevent the processing of absentee ballots if the county auditor has requested their presence.[2003 c 111 § 1010. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 9. Formerly RCW 29.36.300.] RCW 29A.40.110Processing incoming ballots.(1) The opening and subsequent processing of return envelopes for any primary or election may begin upon receipt. The tabulation of absentee ballots must not commence until after 8:00 p.m. on the day of the primary or election.  (2) All received absentee return envelopes must be placed in secure locations from the time of delivery to the county auditor until their subsequent opening. After opening the return envelopes, the county canvassing board shall place all of the ballots in secure storage until after 8:00 p.m. of the day of the primary or election. Absentee ballots that are to be tabulated on an electronic vote tallying system may be taken from the inner envelopes and all the normal procedural steps may be performed to prepare these ballots for tabulation.  (3) Before opening a returned absentee ballot, the canvassing board, or its designated representatives, shall examine the postmark, statement, and signature on the return envelope that contains the security envelope and absentee ballot. They shall verify that the voter's signature on the return envelope is the same as the signature of that voter in the registration files of the county. For registered voters casting absentee ballots, the date on the return envelope to which the voter has attested determines the validity, as to the time of voting for that absentee ballot if the postmark is missing or is illegible. For out-of-state voters, overseas voters, and service voters stationed in the United States, the date on the return envelope to which the voter has attested determines the validity as to the time of voting for that absentee ballot. For any absentee ballot, a variation between the signature of the voter on the return envelope and the signature of that voter in the registration files due to the substitution of initials or the use of common nicknames is permitted so long as the surname and handwriting are clearly the same.[2005 c 243 § 5; 2003 c 111 § 1011. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 10; 1991 c 81 § 32; 1987 c 346 § 14; 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 78; 1973 c 140 § 1; 1965 c 9 § 29.36.060; prior: 1963 ex.s. c 23 § 5; 1955 c 167 § 7; 1955 c 50 § 2; prior: 1933 ex.s. c 41 § 5, part; 1921 c 143 § 6, part; 1917 c 159 § 4, part; 1915 c 189 § 4, part; RRS § 5285, part. Formerly RCW 29.36.310, 29.36.060.]Notes:Effective date -- 1991 c 81: See note following RCW 29A.84.540.Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010.Effective date -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: See notes following RCW 29A.16.040.County canvassing board, meeting to process absentee ballots, canvass returns: RCW 29A.60.160.Unsigned absentee or provisional ballots: RCW 29A.60.165. RCW 29A.40.120Report of count.The absentee ballots must be reported at a minimum on a congressional and legislative district basis. Absentee ballots may be counted by congressional or legislative district or by individual precinct, except as required under RCW 29A.60.230(2).  These returns must be added to the total of the votes cast at the polling places.[2003 c 111 § 1012. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 11; 1990 c 262 § 2; 1987 c 346 § 15; 1974 ex.s. c 73 § 2; 1965 c 9 § 29.36.070; prior: 1955 c 50 § 3; prior: 1933 ex.s. c 41 § 5, part; 1921 c 143 § 6, part; 1917 c 159 § 4, part; 1915 c 189 § 4, part; RRS § 5285, part. Formerly RCW 29.36.320, 29.36.070.]Notes:Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010. RCW 29A.40.130Record of requests Public access.Each county auditor shall maintain in his or her office, open for public inspection, a record of the requests he or she has received for absentee ballots under this chapter.  The information from the requests shall be recorded and lists of this information shall be available no later than twenty-four hours after their receipt.  This information about absentee voters shall be available according to the date of the requests and by legislative district. It shall include the name of each applicant, the address and precinct in which the voter maintains a voting residence, the date on which an absentee ballot was issued to this voter, if applicable, the type of absentee ballot, and the address to which the ballot was or is to be mailed, if applicable.  The auditor shall make copies of these records available to the public for the actual cost of production or copying.[2003 c 111 § 1013. Prior: 1991 c 81 § 33; 1987 c 346 § 17; 1973 1st ex.s. c 61 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.36.340, 29.36.097.]Notes:Effective date -- 1991 c 81: See note following RCW 29A.84.540.Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010. RCW 29A.40.140Challenges.The qualifications of any absentee voter may be challenged at the time the signature on the return envelope is verified and the ballot is processed by the canvassing board. The board has the authority to determine the legality of any absentee ballot challenged under this section. Challenged ballots must be handled in accordance with chapter 29A.08 RCW.[2003 c 111 § 1014. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 13; 1987 c 346 § 18; 1965 c 9 § 29.36.100; prior: 1917 c 159 § 5; 1915 c 189 § 5; RRS § 5286. Formerly RCW 29.36.350, 29.36.100.]Notes:Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010. RCW 29A.40.150Out-of-state, overseas, service voters.The secretary of state shall produce and furnish envelopes and instructions for out-of-state voters, overseas voters, and service voters to the county auditors. The information on the envelopes or instructions must explain that:  (1) Return postage is free if the ballot is mailed through the United States postal service, United States armed forces postal service, or the postal service of a United States foreign embassy;  (2) The date of the signature is considered the date of mailing;  (3) The envelope must be signed by election day;  (4) The signed declaration on the envelope is the equivalent of voter registration;  (5) A voter may fax a voted ballot and the accompanying envelope if the voter agrees to waive secrecy. The ballot will be counted if the original documents are received before certification of the election; and  (6) A voter may obtain a ballot via electronic mail, which the voter may print out, vote, and return by mail. In order to facilitate the electronic acquisition of ballots by out-of-state, overseas, and service voters, the ballot instructions shall include the web site of the office of the secretary of state.[2005 c 245 § 1; 2003 c 111 § 1015; 1993 c 417 § 7; 1987 c 346 § 19; 1983 1st ex.s. c 71 § 8. Formerly RCW 29.36.360, 29.36.150.]Notes:Legislative intent -- Effective date -- 1987 c 346: See notes following RCW 29A.40.010.

USA Statutes : washington