Washington gets waiver for overseas ballots

Federal officials say it's OK for Washington to send ballots to overseas and military voters one month before the general election, instead of the normally required 45 days.

Secretary of State Sam Reed requested a waiver from the federal rule earlier this year.

There are only nine business days between final certification of the primary election and the 45-day deadline. State officials say that’s not enough time to prepare about 60,000 overseas ballots.

In a letter dated Friday, the Defense Department approved Washington’s plan to send out general election ballots 30 days before Election Day. Those ballots also have a three-week grace period to get back to the state after the election.

Overseas ballots do have to be voted on by Election Day.