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Auditor: Sandra Perkins
Elections Supervisor: Gabrielle Clay

Skagit County Elections > Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: October 19, 2021

Want more information? Check out the Washington Secretary of State’s office website at www.sos.wa.gov/elections or view Auditor Perkins’ most recent presentation to the Board of County Commissioners here.

General Elections questions:

Q: How do I register to vote?
Skagitonians can register by mail or online at www.votewa.gov. Your application must be received no later than 8 days before Election Day. Skagitonians can also register to vote in person at:

Auditor’s Office
700 S. 2nd Street, Room 201
Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
Monday-Friday, 8:30 – 4:30
You can register on Election Day any time before 8:00 PM and receive a ballot for the current election.

Q: Is a voters’ guide available online? How about PDF of the print version?

Yes, the voters’ guide is available in an online formant and in a PDF version. You can also view a version tailored to your ballot by logging into www.votewa.gov

Q: I’ve lost my ballot. Can I get a replacement?
Yes. Contact Skagit County Auditor’s office elections division at 360-416-1702 or visit in-person at 700 S. 2nd Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273. Replacement ballots may be sent by mail, picked up at the elections office, or printed from an online application at www.votewa.gov.

Q: How can I find results on election night?
Results can be found online at www.skagitcounty.net/elections on Election Night. Preliminary results will be posted after drop boxes and voting centers close at 8 p.m. Expect the first results to publish online between 8:15 – 8:30 p.m.

Q: How long will it take to get results for the majority of the ballots?
Results are certified by counties  10 days after a Special Election, 14 days after a Primary, or 21 days after a General Election. The State certifies Primary results no later than 17 days after a Primary or 30 days after a General Election.

Q: What is the law on felons voting?
If a person was convicted of a felony in Washington, the right to vote is restored once the person completes their sentence and is not under the authority (in prison or in community custody) of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Once the right to vote is restored, the person must re-register to vote in order to receive a ballot. If the felony conviction is from another state or in federal court, the right to vote is restored as long as the person is not currently incarcerated for that felony.
If you have questions about your status with DOC, you can call (800) 430-9674.

Q: How do I return my ballot? How do I find a ballot drop box locations?
Ballots can be returned in person, via U.S. Postal Service mail or by placing a ballot in a drop box. Ballots must be postmarked or in a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day to be counted.
In Skagit County, it is highly recommended that voters utilize drop boxes instead of USPS on election day as mail is taken out of County to be postmarked and can be postmarked a day late.

You can find drop box locations by visiting VoteWA and selecting ‘Drop Boxes and Voting Center Locations’. You can then view a list or a map of drop boxes and voting centers in your area.

Q: What services are available to voters living with disabilities?
As a voter with a disability, you can request a reasonable accommodation or assistance to vote. The Office of the Secretary of State is committed to ensuring accessibility at voting centers, and that you have the opportunity to vote privately and independently.

Accessible formats of the voters' pamphlet are available online. If you wish to join the subscription list to receive a copy on USB drive of the Voters' Pamphlet, please contact the voter hotline at (800) 448-4881 or email voterspamphlet@sos.wa.gov. Accessible voting units (AVUs) are available until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Q: Is it OK to selfie myself holding my voted ballot and post it on social media?
The state of Washington does not directly prohibit ballot selfies. However, it is illegal to view another’s ballot for a purpose prohibited by law, such as vote buying.

Q: I’m interested in participating as an election’s observer. How do I sign up to participate?
Skagit County Elections welcomes community members to participate as elections observers. Contact the Elections office at 360-416-1702 or at scelections@co.skagit.wa.us to sign up. Some training is required for anyone to participate.

Please note, Skagit County Elections offices are very small. Particularly during the on-going pandemic, Skagit County elections may have to limit the number of observers in the offices at any given time for health and safety of observers and staff.

Elections Security questions:

Q: How does Skagit County elections ensure the voter roll is accurate?
Trained election staff updates the VoteWA database daily with information from various government agencies such as the Office of the Secretary of State, Department of Licensing, US Postal Service, as well as information from local obituaries, voter phone calls with address changes, walk-in customers, etc.

It is also important that voters update their registration information when they move. If you receive a ballot for someone who does not live at your address, you can also call the Skagit Elections office at 360-416-1702 to report that the individual no longer lives at the address. This voter will then be placed on ‘inactive status,’ meaning that they will not be sent a ballot until they verify their new mailing address.

Q: Does the Skagit Auditor check citizenship before a voter is added to our voter rolls?
The Auditor’s Office follows Washington Law when processing a voter registration. In order for us to register a voter, they must provide their Name, Residential address, Date of birth, Affirmation of US citizenship, and Signature attesting to truth of information provided on the form.

While ID is not required to register a voter, Washington ID or the last 4 digits of their social security number are required before a voter’s ballot can be counted. Our office does not have the ability or access to any citizenship databases for verification. When the information is entered in our statewide database VoteWA, the information is run through checks at the State level to look for duplicate records and any issues with the provided information. This infographic details how voter registration works in Washington State:
infographic

Q: When was the last time a Skagit County person was charged for voter fraud?
In the last 10 years or so, we have not had a Skagit County voter charged with voter fraud. Skagit County elections does occasionally send letters to voters when we see, for example, multiple ballots returned from a single household with the same signature (different voter names). Skagit elections informs each of those voters by letter that it is a crime to sign someone else’s ballot.

The State of Washington and approximately 20 other states use Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multistate partnership that uses a sophisticated and secure data-matching tool to improve the accuracy and efficiency of state voter registration systems. Through participation in ERIC, states can compare official data on voters—such as voter registrations and driver’s license information, U.S. Postal Service addresses, and Social Security death records—to keep voter rolls more complete and up to date.

Q: Is our election system secure from cyberattack?
Washington State and County elections offices employ the recommendations raised by security experts such as paper-based systems and including voter verifiable paper audit trails; independent testing; pre- and post-election audits; and physical security of tabulation equipment.

The VoteWA system is secured by highly skilled Office of the Secretary of State IT staff and Security Operations Center, using state of the art equipment and following IT industry best practices. We have embarked on an unprecedented opportunity to work collaboratively with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that our election systems remain secure. This partnership allows us to work together, elections and IT experts, working hand in hand to ensure our systems are secure.

Q: How do we know tabulation equipment is safe and accurate?
Before a tabulation system can be used in Washington state, we require testing at a federally approved independent testing lab. These expert testers include security reviews as a part of their overall testing efforts. Then, systems are tested by Washington state and reviewed by our own voting systems certification board which is comprised of technology experts, accessibility experts, and certified county election officials. Skagit County then performs acceptance testing and logic and accuracy testing prior to every election.

Additionally, the Washington Secretary of State conducts regular post-election audits, where precincts and races are selected at random and votes our hand counted in addition to the machine tabulation. These totals are then compared to ensure they match before the election is certified.

Q: What are the penalties for voter fraud?
A person who knowingly submits false citizenship information on their registration application or votes as a noncitizen is committing a class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. This is stated clearly on all registration forms. Noncitizens who illegally register to vote and cast a ballot in an election risk their ability to attain U.S. citizenship in the future.

Q: What election improvements and reforms have our state made since the 2004 governor’s election that highlighted some areas for improvement?
Well over 500 election law and rule changes have been made since 2004. These changes include:

  • Electronic voting devices are required to have a voter verified paper audit trail.
  • ID must be confirmed prior to vote being counted.
  • Ballot tallying equipment is certified by an independent testing lab approved by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission before it can be used in Washington State.
  • County auditors must contact voters if their ballot signature does not match the voter’s registration signature.
  • The Secretary of State identifies and removes voters who are currently under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.
  • County Auditors must account for every ballot received. This reconciliation must be presented to the county canvassing board when the election is certified and made available to the public. If there is a discrepancy, the county auditor must provide an explanation.
  • State Patrol signature verification training is required by election staff comparing ballot signatures.
  • In person disability access voting must be available 18 days before an election. The county auditor must either compare the voter’s signature or check identification before voters may use these units.
  • A random check of ballot tabulation equipment is performed upon mutual agreement of the political party observers or at the discretion of the county auditor. A manual count is compared to the tabulated results to verify the accuracy of the equipment.
  • County election procedures are reviewed by the Secretary of State. The auditor or county canvassing board must take corrective action for any problems uncovered during the review. The Secretary of State must verify that corrective action was taken.
  • Several increases in penalties for election-related fraud.
  • Q: How can you tell if somebody tries to vote more than one ballot?
    Each voter has a single active record in the statewide voter registration database (VoteWA). When a ballot is received by the Election Division, the signature is compared to the voter’s registration and the voter’s record is marked as having returned a ballot. If the voter attempts to return an additional ballot, the system warns the election official that a ballot has already been returned. Election workers report that information to the canvassing board, who in turn reports it to the Prosecuting Attorney.

    Q: How are write-in votes counted?
    Every voter has the right to write-in a candidate instead of voting for one printed on the ballot. These votes are tabulated and reported cumulatively in one bucket as write-in votes. This represents the total number of all write-in votes cast. These are considered valid votes if the candidate is certified.

    However, write-in votes for individual candidates are only hand tallied if the total number of write-in votes may be enough to make a difference in the outcome of the race. (RCW 29A.60.021)

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