Elections

Voting When You’re Houseless

1 min read

We received a few questions about voting in Washington State from individuals who are in transitional housing, houseless, or otherwise without a stable street address. They wanted to know: can you vote in Washington if you don’t have a street address?

The answer: YES.

Whether you’re houseless, couch surfing, in between houses, or in treatment for a subtance use or mental health issue, you can register to vote and list your address as a government building, a treatment center, a friend’s house, or pretty much anywhere you consider a place where you could receive mail.

The state law is pretty clear and relaxed when it comes to this fact. It even specifically states that Native individuals without a traditional street address may list their tribal govenrment building or meeting hall.

For more info on how the state defines “residence,” see Article VI, Sections 1 and 4 of the Washington State Constitution, and RCW 29A.04.151.

A related question that was asked: can I vote if I have a felony conviction? Yes! As long as you’re no longer under the control of the Department of Corrections (in other words, currently incarcerated or on parole).

This late in the election cycle (and during a pandemic), anyone who wishes to vote in the August 4, 2020 election would need to vote in-person at one of the many in-person voter service centers. Here are a few:

Seattle and Renton (King County): https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/how-to-vote/ballots/returning-my-ballot/vote-centers.aspx

Tacoma (Pierce County): Daily until 8PM at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma

Olympia (Thurston County): https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/auditor/Pages/elections-new-site.aspx

To find yours, contact your local county elections authority.

Voters may be able to register and print their ballots online at votewa.gov, but they’ll still need to get them into their county elections ballot drop box or postmarked by 8PM Tuesday night!