New Washington Resident

Welcome to Washington! As a new resident of Washington State, you can register to vote online with VoteWA, by mail, in person, or when you get your new state driver license or ID at the Department of Licensing. New enhanced drivers' licenses are automatically registered to vote.

You may not vote in multiple states. Be sure to cancel any previous voter registration before you register in Washington. You do not have to choose a party when you register to vote in Washington.

Voting by mail

Washington State votes by mail. Mail elections are an alternative to polling place voting. Prior to each election, a ballot is mailed to every eligible registered voter. When ballots are mailed, each county elections office also opens a voting center for in-person registration and voting services through Election Day.


Top 2 Primary

Almost all other states in the country conduct nominating Primary Elections. In these states, the purpose of the Primary is to select each political party's nominee who will represent the party in the General Election.

In Washington's Top 2 Primary, conducted the first Tuesday in August, the purpose is to narrow the number of candidates down to the top two finishers, regardless of a candidate's party preference.


Being an informed voter

Washington has many ways to help voters become informed about ballot measures and candidates:

  • The state General Election Voters' Pamphlet is mailed to every household in Washington.
  • Voters' Pamphlet is available online in PDF, Text, and Audio. You can also view the Voters' Pamphlet in Spanish, Chinese, or Vietnamese. Go to the results page, select your desired election year, and click on the "Voters' Guide" link to see all your options.
  • For personalized ballot measure and candidate information online, go to VoteWA.
  • For local races, visit the website for your county elections department.
  • 16 and 17 year olds may sign up for the Future Voter Program and be automatically registered to vote after turning 18.