Mover's Guide: Washington

August 10, 2010

Elections Division: 800-448-4881

I moved from the address at which I am registered.  What should I do?

I moved from another state.

If you moved to Washington from another state, you must register to vote in Washington to be able to vote.[1]  Unless you register in person and vote by absentee ballot, the last day to register in time to vote in the next election is twenty-nine days before the election.[2]  You can also register in person at the county auditor’s office no later than eight days before the election, but you will be given an absentee ballot.[3]

If you moved from out of state, you are only eligible to vote if you have been a resident of Washington, and of the county and precinct in which you want to vote, for at least the thirty days prior to the day of the election in which you want vote.[4]  But under federal law, if you move within thirty days of a presidential election, you are allowed to vote for President and Vice President in your former state of residence, either in person or by absentee ballot.[5]

I moved within Washington.

If you moved within the same county, you should notify your county auditor to update your registration records.[6]  If you moved to a different county, you should submit a voter registration form to update your registration records.[7]  That form is available here: http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/voterinformation/Pages/RegistertoVote...

The election is right around the corner and I never updated my registration from my previous address.  What should I do?

Washington voters who have moved to a new address within the state since they last voted should contact their local election official to confirm their current polling place.  Election officials may have changed the voter’s registration to his or her new address even if the voter did not notify the election official about the move.  Voters whose registration information has been changed should go to their current polling place to vote.

Many registered Washington voters who move are still entitled to cast a ballot that will be counted — even if they did not notify the appropriate election official about their move before Election Day and the election official has not changed their registration.

Scenario One: New Address, but Same Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is covered by the same polling place as your old address, you can vote at that polling place after confirming your change of address.  This is true regardless of how close to the election you moved.[8]

Scenario Two: New Address in New Polling Place, but Same County

If you moved to a new address in a different polling place within the same county, you can vote at the polling place associated with your old address after filling out a voter registration form.[9]

Scenario Three: New Address in New Polling Place and New County

If you moved to a new address in a different county, you can vote at the polling place associated with your old address after filling out a voter registration form.[10]


[1] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.04.210 (West 2010) (excepting service and overseas voters and certain elections where registration is not a prerequisite).

[2] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.140(1)(a).

[3] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.140(1)(b).

[4] Wash. Const. art. VI, § 1.

[5] 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1(e) (2010).

[6] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.410.

[7] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.420.

[8] 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-6(e)(1) (2010).

[9] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.430.

[10] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 29A.08.430.