Tips for last-minute Thurston County primary voters

Has your vote been counted? Here’s how to check in Washington state

Washington is one of three states that send ballots in the mail to all registered voters. Here is how you can check if your vote has been counted.
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Washington is one of three states that send ballots in the mail to all registered voters. Here is how you can check if your vote has been counted.

Primary Election Day is here for many Thurston County voters, who have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to get their completed ballots into one of 28 drop boxes distributed across the county. Voters can also mail in their postage-paid ballots, as long as the postmark is Election Day or earlier; however, at this point, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall recommends using a drop box over voting by mail.

On the eve of the election, Hall shared that piece of advice with The Olympian, as well as a couple other helpful tips for last-minute voters.

1. It’s not too late to register

“I think what’s important for voters to know is, even if they’re not registered, they can come into our office, register, get a ballot, and vote right there,” Hall said.

This election is the first time voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to register, update addresses, and get replacement ballots ⁠— all this can be done in person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at 2000 Lakeridge Dr SW, Building 1, Room 118, Olympia. The office is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

“We hope for lots of foot traffic,” Hall said.

For help deciding which candidates deserve your vote, take a look at The Olympian’s 2019 voter guide.

2. Didn’t get a ballot? Call if you’re concerned

Hall told The Olympian that of the roughly 186,000 registered voters in Thurston County, only about 158,000 have issues on the ballot this election, which “isn’t quite countywide.” She named the Steamboat Island area, Griffin School District, Rainier, and Bucoda as examples of locations where voters don’t have any issues to weigh in on. There may be “other pockets here and there,” she said.

Hall advises that any voter living outside those areas who didn’t receive a ballot ⁠— and anybody who has any questions ⁠— call the auditor’s office. The phone number for elections is 360-786-5408.

3. Find your nearest ballot drop box

While ballots postmarked on Election Day are valid, Hall encourages last-minute voters to use a drop box to be sure their ballots are received.

There are six drop boxes located in the Lacey area, seven in the Olympia area, three in the Tumwater area, and 12 more distributed in other areas across the county. Drop box locations are listed in voters’ pamphlets and on a ballot insert, and there’s an interactive map of the locations on the auditor’s website: ThurstonVotes.org.

Hall noted that the drop box at Lacey City Hall has slightly moved positions and is now in a visitor parking spot, after a car hit it Monday morning. Ballots in the box when it was hit, she said, made it out just fine.

Sara Gentzler joined The Olympian in June 2019. She primarily covers Thurston County government and its courts, as well as breaking news. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Creighton University.