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Yes, you can trust election results in Snohomish County. Our elections results have been consistently validated by audits, reviews, and recounts.
Snohomish County conducts elections by mail. Every vote is cast on a paper ballot. Paper ballots are used to audit the ballot counting system and in recounts of close races.
Our ballot counting system is tested by a federally approved lab and approved by the Washington State Secretary of State for use in Washington. The ballot counting system is not connected to the internet or any other networks and access is limited to authorized elections employees. All access is controlled by key cards and passwords and monitored through system logs and video surveillance.
Before each election, the ballot counting system is programmed by county elections staff and tested to confirm ballots will be properly counted for that specific election. This test is open to public observation and is witnessed by staff from the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office for federal and state elections.
Snohomish County also conducts two separate audits of our election results after Election Day. For first audit, a single contest is agreed upon by representatives of each major political party. Each party also selects three batches. Election employees then hand count the results of the chosen contest to confirm the software tabulations.
The second audit is called a “Risk Limiting Audit.” This audit has been designed by statisticians and involves a hand recount of ballots chosen at random to form a statistical sample. The number of ballots in the sample increases until the audit sufficiently establishes that a full hand recount would confirm the original outcome.
Finally, the work performed by Snohomish County Elections is reviewed by the county canvassing board before election results are certified as final.
Yes, election processes are open to observation. Additional information about election observation opportunities can be found on our website.
Yes, official drop boxes are a secure, convenient way for voters to return their ballot.
Ballot drop boxes are secured with custom locks and tamper-evident seals. Ballots are collected on a regular basis.
Ballot pick-up from the drop boxes is performed by no less than two employees. Ballots are transported directly to the election processing facility in sealed containers. A chain of custody log is maintained throughout the entire process.
Snohomish County Elections uses layers of defenses to protect against cyber threats.
All Snohomish County Elections employees with computer access complete annual cybersecurity training and are frequently tested to ensure they can recognize and appropriately respond to suspicious emails and other tactics used by cyber criminals.
All ballot counting equipment is never connected to the internet or other networks. The ballot counting equipment also sits in a secured cage that requires two full-time elections employees to access. Seal logs and video surveillance perform another layer of defense. All ballot counting equipment have USB port locks to further prevent unauthorized access.
Other non-ballot counting equipment is protected by various network security tools including “Albert Sensors.” Albert sensors are passive network traffic monitoring devices that look for known cyber threats as they try to enter the county network. Staff monitor for albert sensor alerts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Snohomish County Elections is also a member of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing Analysis Center. The EI-ISAC is partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. EI-ISAC provides cybersecurity briefings, training, assessments, and resources to member counties.
There are three ways to register to vote:
To register to vote, you must be:
To register to vote in Washington state, you must attest in a signed statement that you are a U.S. citizen and eligible to vote. You must also provide a form of identification. Common identification includes a Washington state driver’s license or state-issued ID number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number.
A person who submits false citizenship on their voter registration application or votes as a non-citizen is guilty of a class C felony. If a person illegally registers and votes, they also jeopardize attaining citizenship in the future.
Voting requirements are stated in plain language on registration forms and ballot envelopes. Voters affirm their eligibility by signing the ballot declaration during each election.
Snohomish County Elections provides translation services for non-English speaking citizens. If you need help understanding any part of the voting process, please call us at (425) 388-3444.
Voters don’t choose a political party when they register to vote in Washington State. Party preference or affiliation is not recorded in the voter’s registration record. Ballots sent to voters are not coded by party. Voters are free to select any candidate during primary and general elections, regardless of party preference.
Presidential Primary: Every four years, the major political parties have a nominating process for U.S. President. The parties choose to nominate by caucus or by holding a primary election with ballots. When the parties nominate by primary election, counties are required to mail and process ballots by political affiliation, temporarily recording voters’ party affiliations for the presidential primary. This party affiliation is removed from the voters’ records 60 days following certification of the presidential primary.
Voter registration records are not the only database from which jurors are called. Additional sources include motor vehicle registration, driver’s licenses, and utility records.
You can see the districts and precincts you live in by viewing the My Elected Officials tab at www.VoteWA.gov.
You can also view district boundaries through the Snohomish County Elections interactive map.
If you wish to cancel your voter registration, complete and return a cancellation form.
To notify us of a family member that has recently passed away, please use a cancellation due to death form.
You cannot use a cancellation form to cancel the registration of another voter (including family members that no longer live at your address). Please ask family members to cancel their own registration, if appropriate.
If you move, you can update your voter registration address by:
If you move from one Snohomish County address to another Snohomish County address, you can simply email your name, date of birth and new address to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us (425) 388-3444.
If you move out of state, complete and return a cancellation form and register to vote in your new state.
Washington’s voter registration system, VoteWA, is continuously updated by county election workers as well as the Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS). The OSOS works with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Licensing, the Department of Health, the Department of Corrections, and the Office of the Administrator of the Courts to ensure the accuracy of voter registration data.The OSOS regularly provides counties with lists of voters who need to be removed from the voter rolls. These lists include deceased voters, voters in custody of the Department of Corrections, or voters who may be registered in more than one county.
Additionally, Washington State is a member of ERIC (Electronic Records Information Center) that compares voter registration and motor vehicle license data across 31 other states. ERIC uses sophisticated data matching software. ERIC reports can detect when a voter is registered in another state or if they have voted in another state.
We also rely on voters to keep their voter registration records updated. If you move or change your name, please contact (425) 388-3444. If a member of your household has died and a ballot is mailed to them, please write “deceased” on the envelope and return it in the mail or through ballot drop box. If a ballot is mailed to your home in the name of someone who doesn’t reside with you, please mark the envelope as undeliverable.
If you are convicted of a felony in Washington state or federal court, your right to vote is restored automatically once you are no longer serving a sentence of total confinement. Upon release, you may register to vote.
You do not lose the right to vote for a misdemeanor conviction or a conviction in juvenile court.
Additional information can be found on the Washington Secretary of State’s website.
Individuals that meet the registration requirements except for age may pre-register to vote at 16-years-old and will be automatically registered on their 18th birthday.
Pre-registered, future voters that will be 18 years old by the next General election can vote in primaries and will be sent a ballot that is limited to primary races.
The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is 8 days before the election.
The deadline to register in-person is on Election Day by 8pm.
Ballots are mailed 18 days prior to each election for local voters and up to 45 days prior to each election for voters overseas or in military service. Sign up for the U.S. Postal Service’s free Informed Delivery tool to preview your mail scheduled to arrive each day. This includes your ballot, as well as all other elections-related letters, cards, and materials.
If you have not received your ballot 10 days before the election, contact Snohomish County Elections at (425) 388-3444.
Washington is a vote-by-mail state. Every voter is sent a ballot for each election in which they are eligible. We no longer have polling places. We do offer accessible voting sites for those who can benefit from a ballot marking device.
The hours and locations of our accessible voting sites are listed on the inserts that accompany your mail ballot, in the local voters’ pamphlet and on our website.
Washington is a vote-by-mail state. Every voter is sent a ballot for each election in which they are eligible. We no longer have polling places. We do offer a limited number of accessible voting sites for those who can benefit from a ballot marking device.
One local voters’ pamphlet is mailed to every household in Snohomish County for primaries, general elections, and countywide special elections. In smaller special elections, the local voters’ pamphlet is included as an insert in the ballot packet.
If you did not get one, you can view the local voters’ pamphlet on the Snohomish County website or visit www.VoteWA.gov to see candidate statements and ballot measures specific to your ballot.
Local voters’ pamphlets are mailed to every household by zip code, whether or not there are active voters at the address.
Not all elections have issues or races for all voters to consider. You may get a voters’ pamphlet and not a ballot. You can confirm your eligibility for an election by visiting www.VoteWA.gov. If you believe you should have received a ballot, call us at (425) 388-3444.
If you have misplaced or damaged your issued ballot, you can get a replacement ballot by:
You can return your voted ballot through the mail or through a county ballot drop box.
Follow the instructions on the envelopes that come with your ballot to prepare for return, including signing the oath on your return envelope.
If you choose to return your ballot through the mail, no postage is required. Your ballot envelope must be postmarked on or before Election Day. To ensure your ballot is received on time, remember to check the last pick-up time on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mailbox.
If using a county ballot drop box, make sure your ballot envelope is returned before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Once returned, you can track the receipt and acceptance of your ballot by visiting www.VoteWA.gov.
Returning your ballot through the mail is safe.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been a valuable, trusted partner in our elections for decades. The return ballot envelope is designed to help the USPS quickly direct returned ballots to our office, taking advantage of routing technology and other tools. County elections staff actively monitor the delivery of mail and meet daily during the election with USPS representatives to ensure that ballot mail is being properly handled and delivered.
If you return your ballot by mail, check the last pick-up time on the USPS mailbox to ensure your ballot will be postmarked on or before Election Day.
If in doubt, return your voted ballot to an official ballot drop box before 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballot drop box locations can be found on the insert with your ballot, in the local voters’ pamphlet or on our website.
Snohomish County Elections uses Clear Ballot’s Clear Vote system to design and tabulate our ballots. Voter registration records are maintained by each county through a statewide registration database managed by the Washington Secretary of State.
Find a list of elected officials here.
Ballots returned through ballot drop boxes are routinely picked up by county election employees, working in teams of two. The ballot pick-up team seals the returned ballots in containers and transports them back to the county ballot processing facility, maintaining a thorough chain-of-custody throughout the process. At the county ballot processing facility, returned ballot envelopes are marked as received in the statewide voter registration and election management system.
You can track the receipt and acceptance of your ballot by visiting www.VoteWA.gov.
Ballots returned through the mail are securely handled and delivered to the county ballot processing facility and directly handed over to no fewer than two county elections employees. At the county ballot processing facility, returned ballot envelopes are marked received in the statewide voter registration and election management system.
Before a ballot is accepted for counting, the signature on the returned ballot envelope is compared to the signature(s) the County has on file for the voter to ensure the signatures match.
Elections staff performing this work are routinely trained in signature comparison techniques by current or former members of the Washington State Patrol who specialize in forensic handwriting analysis.
Signatures that do not match are flagged as challenged for second and, if appropriate, third review by senior staff. Flagged signature issues are not a sign of fraud. Signatures may be flagged as the result of a signature evolving over time, another member of the same household accidentally signing the wrong ballot envelope, or a voter forgetting to sign the ballot envelope entirely.
If a ballot is flagged as challenged, the voter is contacted and provided an opportunity to resolve the issue with their signature.
Snohomish County Elections follows Washington state standards and best practice ballot-counting steps to maintain voter secrecy and ensure election integrity.
Ballots remain sealed in their return envelopes until the signatures are matched against the signatures on file for the voters. Once matched, return envelopes are batched into groups of 200 envelopes. A new workgroup then takes the batches of accepted envelopes and opens them in a two-step process to maintain the secrecy of the ballot.
In the first step staff remove the ballots still in their secrecy sleeves from the return envelopes. All the return envelopes are bundled and set aside. This breaks the connection between the return envelope which have voter information and the ballot which is still in the secrecy sleeve.
In the second step ballots are removed from the secrecy sleeves, unfolded and visually inspected to ensure the ballot counting equipment will be able to accurately read the votes.
A ballot status of “challenged” means that elections staff received your ballot but it cannot be accepted and counted until a challenge with the envelope is resolved. The most common challenge situations include voters failing to sign their return envelope, signatures on return envelopes not matching the signature in the voters’ registration records, and voters returning their ballot too late to be counted.
Voters with challenges related to signature issues have an opportunity to resolve the challenge and get their ballot counted. Snohomish County will notify you of a challenge by mail and by phone or email, if we have that contact information on file. To be counted, challenges must be resolved no later than the day before the election is certified.
If you have questions regarding the status of your ballot, please contact Snohomish County Elections at (425) 388-3444.
Certification of an election and the election results takes place 10 days after a February or April Special Election, 14 days after an August Primary, and 21 days after a November General Election.
The accuracy and validity of the election results are certified by the county canvassing board, comprised of the County Auditor, the Chair of the County Council, and the Prosecuting Attorney. Each member can designate a delegate, if they are unable to attend or fulfill their responsibilities.
The canvassing board receives reports from Snohomish County Elections on how the election was conducted. The board reviews any ballots that have unclear voter marks and makes a final decision on challenged ballots. If satisfied that the results are true and correct, the board certifies the final results of the election.