After all these months of campaigning, there really is going to be an election

King County Elections has mailed more than 1.16 million ballots to voters via the U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The statewide Voters Pamphlet has also been mailed out to voters.

A ballot box where voters can deposit their ballot without postage is available on Southwest 152nd Street in front of Burien City Hall/Burien Library, 400 S.W. 152nd St.

Here’s the press release from King County Elections:

Ballots will arrive soon in mailboxes throughout King County. The county already sent about 15,000 ballots to voters living overseas and those serving in the military to allow extra time for delivery.

This is the first presidential election since King County began voting by mail and since Washington became an all vote by mail state.

“Voters should watch for their ballots in the mail and contact us if they haven’t received it by Monday, Oct. 22,” said Sherril Huff, Elections Director. “We anticipate a high turnout, and we encourage all voters to get their ballots voted and returned no later than the Election Day deadline—the earlier, the better.”

King County voters also will begin receiving their voters’ pamphlet in the mail this week. Voters will receive two voters’ pamphlets, a local one from King County and a state one from the Office of the Secretary of State. Voters’ pamphlets are available online, at Seattle and King County libraries, and at the Elections office in Renton.

You can vote and return your ballot as soon as you receive it. Ballots can be returned through the Postal Service, which requires a first class stamp, or they may be returned to any of the 15 ballot drop-off locations open for this election. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8:00 p.m. on election day.

The county will use ballot drop-off vans as temporary drop-off locations again this election. The staffed vans first debuted in the August primary and will be at Kirkland City Hall, West Seattle Stadium and the University of Washington from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Friday, Saturday and Monday before election day, and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on election day.

Ballots can also be returned to accessible voting centers during their business hours.

Tips for voting:
• Read the entire ballot top to bottom, and front to back before voting
• Read the voters’ pamphlet
• Use a black ink pen to fill out the ballot
• Tear the stub off of the top of the ballot
• Sign the voter declaration on the back of the envelope using your official signature
• Return your ballot early so that it is part of the Election Night results report and there is enough time to correct any issues that may be associated with your signature

In person registration deadline Oct. 29

King County residents not currently registered to vote in Washington can register in person at the King County Elections office or the Voter Registration Annex through 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29.
For more information, visit the Elections website, or call 206-296-VOTE (8683).

Here is a press release from the Washington Secretary of State’s Office:

Remember the scene in “The Jerk” when Steve Martin yells, “The new phone book’s here!”? Well, he might be pretty pumped up about this news, even if his name isn’t in it: The Voters’ Pamphlet is coming!

If you haven’t received your statewide Voters’ Pamphlet for the 2012 General Election, you will soon. Nearly all of the Voters’ Pamphlets are being delivered this week, around the same time Washington voters receive their ballots.

“This is a very important election, with many races and measures on the ballot, so I encourage all voters to take time to become more informed,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed. “The Voters’ Pamphlet is a very useful tool that helps voters learn more about the candidates and issues found on their ballot.”

This year’s Voters’ Pamphlet is especially large due to so many races and ballot measures, as well as a federal law requiring voting information materials be available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese in certain counties. For example, the Franklin County edition (which is in English and Spanish) is a whopping 248 pages! The edition for Adams and Yakima counties, in English and Spanish, is close behind at 240 pages.

Most editions range between 120 and 168. The pamphlet is printed on recycled paper.
“Someday we hope enough voters will have Internet access to warrant an opt-out list for a printed Voters’ Pamphlet,” Reed said. “Until then, we’re pleased to offer voters’ information online and in print that costs less than a postage stamp to print and deliver to every household in the state.”

The Voters’ Pamphlet includes useful information about the candidates and measures that will be on the ballot in this important election. Races include U.S. President; the U.S. Senate matchup between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner; all 10 U.S. House contests, all state executive offices, including open positions for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and Auditor; all 98 state House seats and about half of the state Senate races; one contested State Supreme Court contest; and other races.

Also found in the Voters’ Pamphlet are for and against statements and the entire text of the statewide ballot measures, including Initiative 502 (marijuana legalization); I-1185 (limiting tax and fee increases); I-1240 (authorizing charter schools); Referendum 74 (legalizing same-sex marriage); two constitutional amendments (one dealing with the state’s debt limit, the other regarding investments by the University of Washington and Washington State University); and two state advisory votes.

About 3.3 million are being sent to all Washington households, as required by the state Constitution.
Here are some other interesting facts about the 2012 Voters’ Pamphlet:
• Each pamphlet costs roughly the same as a postage stamp to print and ship to every household in the state.
• Twenty-six zoned editions of the pamphlet are created, including Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese editions.
• Additional editions are created in alternative formats such as audio and large print for voters with limited vision.

If you don’t receive your ballot or Voters’ Pamphlet by Oct. 24, please call the Voter Hotline at (800) 448-4881 for assistance.

You can also study the candidates and ballot measures on this fall’s ballot by checking out the Online General Election Voters’ Guide or TVW’s Video Voters’ Guide.

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