OLYMPIA — Washingtonians do not need to request a mail or absentee ballot, despite a “plan ahead” postcard by the U.S. Postal Service suggesting voters do so, according to the state Secretary of State’s Office.

In a statement Friday evening, the office said that state voters may soon get a postcard from the postal service that includes a recommendation voters ask for a ballot at least 15 days before the Nov. 3 election.

But, “voters in Washington do not need to request a ballot, as ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters at least 18 days before Election Day,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman in the statement. “There is no need to sign up or request to receive a mail-in ballot to vote in the upcoming election.”

“Voters who are unsure if they are registered or if their address on file is current can log in to VoteWA.gov to confirm their registration information,” added Wyman.

Wyman said her office — which oversees elections — and the county offices that administer elections were not made aware that the postcard would be sent to Washington voters.

“By the time we learned of the mailer and reached out to the postal service to inquire further, the mailers were already in the mail stream,” said Wyman.


The flyers come as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has faced scrutiny for recent changes that have slowed mail delivery, just as much of the country is readying to vote by mail in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those changes have come as President Donald Trump has repeatedly disparaged the concept of mail balloting — a longtime practice in Washington and other states — as he trails in general election polls.

After a legal challenge by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and other states, a federal judge in late August ordered the Postal Service to provide more information about its changes to mail delivery.

Spokespeople and officials for the Postal Service has refused to give specifics about the changes in Washington. But delivery changes have prompted reports about slowdowns in the delivery of prescription medication and other mail.