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Election Myths & FAQs

(Updated 7/17/2024)

What happened to the drive-up ballot drop box at the Star Building?

Due to the County selling the Star Building, the drive-up ballot drop box near the courthouse has moved. The new location is in the parking lot behind the new Community Development building at Chehalis Ave. and Center St. The address is 435 NW Center St. Click here to view a map of the new location.

Why aren't the statewide candidates listed in my voter pamphlet?

The voter pamphlet that you received is a local voter pamphlet printed and distributed by Lewis County that includes local candidates for office. The Secretary of State’s Office will print and distribute a voter pamphlet for the statewide offices in the General Election. Unfortunately they do not print a pamphlet for the Primary. An online voters’ guide that includes these candidates can be found at or by visiting our office at 351 NW North St, Chehalis WA 98532.

What is the Presidential Preference Primary and why do I have to mark a party box on the oath envelope?

The Presidential Preference Primary happens every four years and is a chance to participate in the nomination process for the office of U.S. President. Voters help the major political parties choose presidential nominees. Washington's Presidential Primary was first created in 1989 through a citizens' Initiative to the Legislature to include more voters in the process. This is the only election in which state law requires Washington's voters to mark and sign party declarations written by the major political parties. Every registered voter will receive a mailed ballot packet after February 23. Voters who choose to participate in the nomination process will mark and sign party declarations on their ballot return envelopes. Voters may only choose one party primary to participate in and vote for one candidate from the same party. Click here for more information about the Presidential Preference Primary.

If I vote for a candidate from one party in the Presidential Preference Primary, do I have to vote the same way in the November General Election?

No, the way you vote in the Presidential Primary Election does not affect how you can vote in the November General Election. Also, if you do not participate in the Presidential Primary Election you can still vote in the November General Election.

If a candidate has already suspended their campaign, why are they still on the ballot and in the voters' pamphlet?

To ensure delivery of ballots and voters' pamphlets to military and overseas voters, state law requires each major political party to provide its final list of candidates to the Secretary of State's Office no later than January 9. Each political party decides which candidates are printed on their side of the ballot. Once each political party submits their list of candidates to the Secretary of State, changes cannot be made (RCW 29A.56.031).

Do you really lock the ballot drop boxes using red zip ties?

We do not secure the ballot drop boxes using red zip ties. There is an internal, double deadbolt that is used to secure each box. The numbered zip tie is for election staff to track each time the box is accessed by our staff and is part of our chain of custody security process. The door on the drop box is also designed to swing open if it is not locked.

How do I know if my ballot has been received and accepted?

Voters can login to the VoteWA voter portal at: to track the status of their ballots.

Why does my ballot still say "accepted" on VoteWA?

The VoteWA system shows “accepted” for ballot envelopes that have been signature checked and have moved forward to have the ballot removed and counted. Here is more information on the ballot status codes used on VoteWA:

Does anyone know how I voted?

No, the election process used in Washington State ensures a secret ballot. No one, including our Elections staff, knows the choices made by an individual voter. Here is more information on the path of a ballot in our vote-by-mail system.

What voting system does Lewis County use?

Lewis County uses Clear Ballot. Click here to see a list of voting systems by county.

I heard that with same day voter registration people can register and vote in one county and then go to the next county to register and vote a second time. Is that true?

This is not correct. With the move to a statewide voter registration system we can track changes to voter registration across all Washington counties in real-time. If a voter tried to do this, the second county would see that a ballot had already been returned.

When I logged into the VoteWA voter portal, the list of "My Elected Officials" are not the candidates that I marked on my ballot.

The "My Elected Officials" portion of the VoteWA voter portal lists the currently serving elected officials. It does not list the candidates that you selected on your ballot. The secret ballot process ensures that we do not know which candidates you marked.

My name is on a list of "rejected" ballots on a third party website. So my vote isn't going to be counted?

Many outside interest groups post information on ballots that have been challenged (unsigned, signature does not match, etc.). These ballots are not rejected. The voter will receive a letter from the Auditor's Office with instructions on how to resolve the issue and have their vote count. If the voter does not respond to the letter, the Auditor's Office will call them prior to certification. If the voter does not resolve the issue prior to certification their vote will not count.

Is it true my ballot won’t be counted if I don’t put it in the security envelope?

Unlike in some other states, your ballot will still be counted even if you don’t use the security envelope. You must still sign and use the outer oath envelope.

Do I need to put a stamp on my envelope for it to be returned to you timely?

It is not necessary to place a stamp on your ballot envelope. Pre-paid postage is included. The envelope must be postmarked by Election Day and received in our office prior to certification of the election. If you are concerned about mailing your ballot, please use one of our 14 ballot drop boxes. Please vote early to ensure your vote will be counted.

I’d like to change my party affiliation on my voter registration.

We don’t register by party in the State of Washington. You are welcome to vote for the candidate of your choice. The only exception is the Presidential Preference Primary held every four years. These are partisan primaries of the two major political parties held to determine their candidates. For these primaries you must check a box and agree to the political party oath to participate.

Why is my favorite candidate listed second on the General Election ballot? They were listed first on the Primary Election ballot.

The ballot order for the Primary Election is determined by lot draw. The candidate with the most votes in the Primary Election moves to position 1 for the General Election.

Why do I have to sign the ballot envelope?

Your signature on the ballot envelope is used to verify that the correct person voted the ballot. Our staff are trained by the Washington State Patrol in signature verification. We compare the signature on every envelope to the signature on file for the voter in the voter registration database. If the signature does not match or the envelope is unsigned, we challenge it. The voter will receive a letter in the mail explaining how to correct the problem. We are also required to call all voters with signature challenges prior to certification of the election.

I heard that I can go to the Auditor's Office to vote?

Lewis County has been all vote-by-mail since 2005. The Auditor's Office is a vote center. We register voters and issue paper ballots. You can vote your paper ballot at the courthouse and return your ballot to the drop box in the historic courthouse, but we do not have voting machines that can be used to cast your vote. We do have an ADA compliant accessible unit to assist voters with disabilities to mark their ballots. Ballots marked on this device are printed out and deposited in the ballot drop box.

Other resources:

Washington Secretary of State's vote-by-mail FAQ website

Washington Secretary of State's Securing Your Vote website

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) rumor vs. reality website