Monday, November 4, 2019

Get your ballots in on time and properly marked!

A Google Earth representation of drop boxes across Whatcom County. See for the most current updated list. Click to enlarge the map.  More suggestions below the break.

Suggestions on Returning your Ballot

Note: Your local elections office in Whatcom County is always the best place to find information on how to vote. The WA SoS Election pages are also a great source for everyone and includes lists of  all drop boxes and voting centers in WA .  Everything  below here is my opinion from past years of observing elections, so please keep that in mind! -RMF

  •  Right now (5:00 PM 11/4/2019),  the all state turnout is a dismal 21.9%  (!!). Please Vote!!
  • In Whatcom County, if you put your ballot in or on your mailbox tomorrow morning, then your ballot makes a trip down to Seattle some time after 5pm, gets postmarked before 8PM and returns to Whatcom County Elections on Wednesday. 
  • As long as all that above happens without a hitch, you ballot should be good. But sometimes that doesn't all happen as it should. See remark from Whatcom Elections below.

Comments from Elections and More Thoughts:

"Our  [drop box] collection teams will be out on Oct 23, 25, 28 & 30. Nov 1, 4, 5 & 6."   (quote from elections) 
With the possible exception of Pt. Roberts, all the other Whatcom County drop boxes are closed promptly at 8PM. Some of the remote drop boxes might not be collected until November sixth or the day after election. So if you put your ballot in a far flung county drop box at 7:59 PM on Election day,  someone might not bring it to the County Courthouse until the day after. Wednesday in the stampless ballot era is a big ballot collection day. For a blog post of mine on this, see here.

"We do get some mail on Tuesdays. As long as a ballot is postmarked by Election Day it has until the day before certification to arrive and be tabulated. If they are mailing at this late date it is recommended that they go to the [postal] counter and get a “round stamp” postmark. Just to make sure." (quote from elections) 
My advice? There are drop boxes all over Whatcom County, including a big one downtown. If you have waited until election day to turn in your ballot, find a drop box will ya? If you can't, vote by mail will probably work for you.

Driving Downtown Tomorrow Night?

If you are driving to downtown Bellingham to drop off your ballot tomorrow night (Election Day),  there can be a line. It moves pretty fast but please don't show up at 7:59 PM. The drop box closes at 8:00 PM sharp.  Even though it is dark this time of year, there is a fairly festive and friendly spirit maintained by the last minute folks rushing to the biggest drop box in Whatcom County.  There are usually multiple candidate parties on election night.  I leave that to you.

Final thoughts: 

After you deliver your ballot, make sure (after a day or two) to check "Ballot Status" in! Here is the final statuses for GE2018 ballots in Whatcom County:

   VBMReturnStatus      N
1:                  32702 # duplicates or not returned
2:            Good 110288
3:            Void   3250
4:      Challenged    679

Here are those GE 2018 Challenges:

                 VBMReturnChallenge      N
 1:                                 146240 #accepted/not returned  
 2:                        Too Late    185
 3:          Second Ballot Received     44
 4:              No Signature Match    340
 5:                     ID Required     14
 6: Cancelled/Moved out of election      2
 7:       Letter doesn't match env.     32
 8:                    No Signature     48
 9:                       No Ballot     11
10:         Wrong Voter's Signature      3

After election day, you may have to deal with a signature recognition issue on your ballot. You have until the day before certification to fix that. However, there is no 'cure'  for "Too Late".

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