Absentee ballots

Board of Elections processes record number of absentee applications, returned ballots

Pierce County Board of Elections has received a record number of absentee ballot requests in the last two months – 3,000 in total.

Elections Superintendent Leah Ritch estimates the most  absentee ballot requests her office has processed in a recent election was 450. That was also during a presidential election year, she says.

But, Ritch isn’t surprised.

She’s been expecting the high volume in requests since Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made the decision to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters statewide due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Last week, locals began mailing their ballots back in. The Board of Elections office received 571 ballots in four days.

Because of the high volume, Ritch advises voters to send in their ballot applications as soon as possible, but expect up to two weeks before receiving a ballot in the mail.

Voters who may be concerned their registered address isn’t current or who have recently closed a post office box should call the Election’s Office at 449-2028 to make sure their ballot is mailed to the correct address.

“If they haven’t changed that (their address) with us, they probably need to call,” Ritch says.

Absentee ballots must be returned to the Board of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day, June 9.

Voters who submit an absentee ballot and then choose to vote in person must cancel their written ballot by signing an affidavit at the Election’s Office. Voters cannot vote in person until their absentee ballot has been canceled.

“They need to come do that now,” Rich says.

County offices were to open to the public Monday, May 4.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is May 11. Early voting will open May 18. Saturday voting is set for May 30.