Nov 8, 2022 - Politics

How to follow election results in Washington state

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a box.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

It's Election Day — but that doesn't mean we'll know all the final outcomes of important races tonight.

The big picture: Results in state, local and federal midterm elections may not be clear for days or weeks.

  • That's not a sign the process isn't working, but reflects the time it takes to process ballots according to each state's rules, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.

Zoom in: Here in Washington, the most up-to-date results will be available after 8pm on the secretary of state's office website — or, for local races in Seattle and King County, by 8:15pm on the county elections website.

  • More ballots will be counted daily, with results updated throughout the week.

State of play: In Washington's vote-by-mail elections, it's not uncommon for tallying to last a week or more before some races are called.

  • That's partly because our ballots don't have to be received by Election Day — they only have to be postmarked by that date to be counted.
  • Halei Watkins, spokesperson for King County Elections, said it's common for the results the county releases on election night to include about half of total returns.

Zoom out: Thirty other states impose a stricter ballot-return deadline, requiring ballots to be received by Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Be smart: If you're a procrastinator, you still have time to return your ballot.

  • To avoid missing the postmark deadline, it's best at this point to return ballots to an official drop box. Here are maps of locations in King County and across the state.
  • You can return your ballot to a drop box anytime before 8pm.

Yes, and: You also can still register to vote, thanks to Washington's same-day registration law.

  • Just show up in-person today at a county election office and you can register and cast your ballot — as long as it's before the 8pm deadline.
  • Your ballot will be counted if your registration info checks out and election officials verify you haven't voted already in another county.

Go deeper: Midterm elections 2022 — Voting in Washington state


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