Amid concerns that U.S. Postal Service delays nationally will affect mail-in ballots, state and local election officials say systems in Washington are prepared.

While most states don’t have a universal mail-in voting system, Washington has decades of experience, said Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

“Washington voters should know that sending ballot material to millions of voters this fall is a routine operation of the U.S. Postal Service,” Wyman said in a news release. “Washington election officials have been working with the U.S. Postal Service for more than 20 years, and we believe we will receive the same level of quality service.”

Skagit County spokesperson Laura Han agreed, saying sweeping changes to the voting system aren’t needed to ensure ballots are delivered in a timely manner.

“This is not a new experience for us,” she said.

Ballots will be sent to Skagit County voters on Oct. 14, 20 days before the Nov. 3 general election, Han said.

She said if voters haven’t received their ballot by Oct. 21, they should contact the county Elections Department at 360-416-1702.

Counties have been told that ballots mailed out to voters within 15 days of the election must now be sent via First Class mail, and should arrive within two to five days. These ballots would either be replacements or sent to newly registered voters, a release from Wyman’s office states.

For voters, ballots must be postmarked on or before election day to be counted, according to the release. USPS recommends mailing ballots at least a week ahead of the election to ensure they arrive in time.

Han noted that the Skagit County Elections Department has 10 ballot drop boxes located throughout county if voters want to bypass the mail system.

Ballots dropped here are picked up directly by county staff and volunteers until 8 p.m. on election night.

County residents can register to vote online at VoteWA.gov until Oct. 26, or in person at the county Auditor’s Office until 8 p.m. on election night.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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