Washington lawmakers have voted to move the state’s primary election two weeks earlier and to make it easier for our military and overseas voters to cast ballots electronically. The measure, Senate Bill 5171, allows service members and Washington voters abroad to return their voted ballots by fax or e-mail. Currently, ballots can be sent electronically to the voter, but the final voted ballot must be returned "snail mail" before the vote will be counted. Another key feature of the billis moving the state’s Top 2 Primary two weeks earlier in August. That would help the state’s 39 counties meet new federal mandates that all military and overseas ballots go out at least 45 days before Election Day.
Currently the state’s relatively late primary makes it difficult for some counties to get the ballots in the mail on time. The measure also moves filing week earlier and revises candidate filing provisions in the event of a vacancy. The earlier primary will begin next year.