Let me start with a few facts:
- I have voted in every election since I turned 18.
- Most of these were in college, I had my mom forward my ballot to me. While I considered myself a bit of a New Yorker, my home of record is Arizona.
- As a military spouse my home of record is still in Arizona. And my driver’s license is still AZ, it doesn’t expire until I’m 65 so I’m keeping that baby as long as I can.
- My ballot arrived on Saturday, November 3, 8 days after it was printed and put in the mail. But that is the story. Why was this such an issue?
When we moved we set up a mail forward to my parent’s house in Phoenix because we didn’t have a Washington address yet. Once we moved in we changed the mail forward from their house to where we are now. Well, ballots aren’t mail forwarded. Mainly in case you move within the state and you should re-register and vote for your new districts. Well, since my parent’s address is my home of record, I want to maintain my residency there, at least for now.
I got a letter this summer informing me of this issue. If I failed to comply I would be deactivated as a voter. After consulting my mom, who works in elections/politics, I called my local county recorder’s office and explained my situation. They understood and told me to write a letter asking for my ballots to be sent to my temporary WA address and it’d get fixed.
On August 2nd I mailed my letter in. About a week later I got a call from someone in the Recorder’s office asking to clarify that I wanted both my primary and general election ballot sent to WA. I said yes. A few weeks later I voted in the primary election. No problem.
Then October rolls around. I knew when ballots were mailed out and waited about a week: nothing. I called on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and the woman told me I had been deactivated. But could be reactivated in the morning when her supervisor was in, and a ballot could be sent to my Phoenix address. Great. Friday, Oct. 25 shows up and my mom checks my status–ballot still not mailed. It was the last day to request an early ballot. I call immediately. Speak to a guy that reactivates me, confirms my WA address, and reminds me to vote as soon as I get my ballot and mail back so they receive it by 7 pm election day.
My mom checked again that Wednesday when it had yet to show up, and indeed my ballot was mailed according to their records on Friday, Oct. 25. But why is it taking so long? A card mailed from Phoenix on Monday, arrived in my mailbox on Thursday. My ballot finally arrived on Saturday afternoon, and I was gone all day, you know I have a life while all this is happening, so I voted Saturday night. At this rate I know that mailing it Monday morning from Washington, it will not get to Phoenix by 7 p.m. on Tuesday. So I went to FedEx Sunday afternoon but the envelope obviously couldn’t go out until Monday morning. I paid $34.77 to ensure that my ballot got to AZ by Tuesday morning. And to be even more sure that it gets turned in, I sent it to my mom’s office, and she will then drop it off to the polling station or elections department directly for me.
As someone that immensely cares about this election, this is completely disheartening. And if I didn’t care as much, or my mom didn’t have access to that information, or was able/willing to help me turn my ballot in, I would have never even gotten a ballot or had my vote count. Will I be changing my voter registration after this election to WA? Probably. I’m completely disappointed in my home county. There are so many important races, from President, Senate, Congress and Sheriff, that I want to voice my opinion for. All I want to do is vote, it shouldn’t be this hard. For anyone.