Military and Overseas Voters

As a military or overseas voter, you have several options for registering to vote, receiving your ballot, and returning it.  If you are a military spouse or dependant, and you are away from home because of the military service, you also qualify as a military voter. Military and overseas voters are automatically mailed ballots 45 days prior to every primary and general election and 30 days prior to every special election.

Registration deadlines

Military and overseas voters are exempt from the regular voter registration deadlines. The last day to register and request a ballot is Election Day. Even if you are not registered, you may still vote and send in a ballot because your signature on the declaration attests to your eligibility and constitutes registration.

Registering to Vote

When registering, please indicate you are in the armed forces or living overseas. You must list a Washington residential address. This can be your last address in the state, or that of a family member. Your mailing address can be anywhere in the world.

Register to vote online at VoteWa.  VoteWa requires a Washington State ID or driver license.

If you do not have a Washington State driver license or ID, you must register using a paper form or in person.

You can return the paper form by mail, email, or fax to Cowlitz County Elections.

If you are stationed in Washington but decide to register in your home state, you can do so using the Federal Voting Assistance Postcard.

Receiving your ballot

You may receive your ballot by mail, email or fax. You may also qualify to receive a ballot as early as 90 days before the election.

Because Washington votes by mail, you will automatically be mailed a ballot. If you register close to Election Day, or for some other reason did not receive your ballot, please request one as soon as possible by contacting the Elections Office. Specify whether you would like to receive your ballot by mail, email or fax.

Contact Cowlitz County Elections to:

  • Request a ballot or a replacement ballot.
  • Change how you receive your ballot (for example, by email instead of postal mail).
  • Update your voter registration record (for example, update your mailing address).

If you believe you won't receive your regular ballot in time to vote, you can also request a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which is a blank write-in ballot.  FWABs are available at consulates, embassies, from your Voting Assistance Officers, and online.

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. If you need to request a copy of the state Voters' Pamphlet be mailed to you, call (800) 448-4881 or email
  • For personalized ballot measure and candidate information online, log in to VoteWa and select 'Online Voters' Guide'.
  • For all ballot measures and candidates, visit the Online Voters' Guide.

Returning your ballot 

You may return your ballot by mail, email, or fax.

  • If you return your ballot by mail, you must sign and date the declaration no later than Election Day and return the ballot to Cowlitz County Elections. It must be received within 10 days after a Special Election, within 13 days after a Primary and within 20 days after a General Election.
  • If you return your ballot by email or fax, it must be received by the Elections Office by 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Election Day.  If you return the ballot by email, include the signed and dated declaration page, the privacy sheet, and the ballot in the email as attachments.

To confirm that your ballot was received, go to VoteWa, log in, and open the 'ballot status' link.