Getting a replacement ballot in Washington state for the November 2020 election
If you haven’t received your ballot — or you got it, but lost it or spilled something on it — you can get a replacement two ways:
- pick it up in person at your county’s election office or a voting center. Many counties offer curbside service. You may need to make an appointment in advance.
- print it out, using VoteWA.gov or your county’s election site
The Secretary of State has contact information and links to the websites for all the county election offices. If you run into problems, call your county election office.
Here’s the instructions on how to print out a replacement ballot using VoteWA.gov.
Verify that you’re registered
When you visit VoteWA.gov, you fill in your first name, last name, and date of birth. Then click the Submit button. If the system finds your information, check your registration status — it should be Active.
If the system doesn’t find you, double-check your information. Your name and middle initial need to be exactly as it appears on your driver’s license, state ID card, or voter registration; and your birthdate needs to be in month/day/year format.
If the system still doesn’t find you, or your status is inactive, you’ll need to register. You can register online until October 26. After that, you’ll need to register in-person at a voting center.
Requesting the ballot
VoteWA has a handy menu that lets you do a lot of different things: find voting centers, check your ballot status and voting history, and so on. If you’re using a computer, the menu’s on the left. On the phone, click on the blue Menu button.
Next, select the Online Ballot option from the menu.
This takes you to a page that reminds you to only print out the ballot and the voter packet only if you did not receive your ballot or if your ballot is lost or damaged. Please do not request a replacement ballot unless you actually need it! If you only want to look at a ballot online, but not print a new one out, use the Voters’ Guide option instead.
But if you do indeed want a replacement ballot, click on the blue Continue button at the bottom of the page.
Printing out your ballot on your county election site
After you click continue, you’ll get a message telling you that you need to log into your county’s election site to get your replacement ballot. As well as the link, you’ll also see the address and phone number of your county site in case you need to contact them.
Next, you have to log in to your county election site with your first name, last name, and date of birth. Some counties may also ask if you are an overseas or service voter. Once you’ve provided the information, you’ll have an option of filling out your ballot online and printing it — or printing out your ballot, and then marking it by hand.
Different county sites may look somewhat different at this point. Here’s what King County’s looks like.
You have the choice of filling out your ballot online, or print it out and mark your selections by hand.
On King County’s site, if you click on the link to print and mark your ballot it takes you to the Ballot Return Package page.
If you fill out your ballot online, click the “Continue” button at the bottom of the page once you’re done; that will take you to the Selection Review page where you can double-check your choices. Once you’re satisfied, click the “Continue” button at the bottom of this page, and you’ll go to the Ballot Return Package page.
On the Ballot Return Package page, click the big Download Ballot Packet button.
Once you click on the Download Ballot Packet button, your browser will download a PDF file that you can print out. When you print out the ballot, make sure to select the right option so that the entire ballot is printed (in very small font). If you do not select this option, you’ll only get about half of each page.
This option has different names and is in different places depending on what kind of browser, computer, or phone you’re using. For example, if you’re printing from the Chrome browser, you’ll need to click on More settings. Then select Fit to Printable Area for the Scale.
On a Windows computer, it’s called “shrink to fit” in the Edge browser. On a Mac, it’s called “scale to fit”, and is on the printing page of the Preview app.
What do once you’ve printed
When you print the ballot out, you will get
- Ballot Packet Instructions. This page does not need to be returned
- Declaration and Signature Sheet. Make sure to sign and date this!
- Optional Cover Sheet. You can put this between the declaration and signature sheet to get additional privacy.
- Envelope Cut-Out Sheet.
- Your ballot, which will be two pages long.
Double-check your ballot to make sure it has the state and county referendum measures, advisory votes, and charter amendments; federal and state legislative races; and elections for Supreme Court and lower court justices. If the pages of your ballot are cut off at the bottom, you will need to print them again selecting the “scale to fit” option.
Next, cut out the envelope image and tape it onto an envelope. Make sure to sign and date your completed declaration and signature sheet! Now fold the optional cover sheet, and ballot, put it in the envelope, and seal it.
There are two ways you can return your ballot:
- Official ballot drop boxes and in-person voting centers are open until 8 p.m on November 3. You can find the locations of nearby drop boxes and voting centers at VoteWA.gov — or on a map, the Secretary of State’s list , or your county election site.
- If you’re mailing in your ballot, it has to be postmarked by November 3. You do not need to attach a stamp — postage is prepaid!
Whichever way you choose, it’s best to vote early!
If you run into problems, call your county election office.