What You Need to Know about the November 2 General Election

Ballot logistics, candidates, and other essential information for those who wait until the last minute to cast their votes.

By Benjamin Cassidy October 28, 2021

We get it. You’ve been binging Squid Game. Or pulling together a culturally relevant Halloween costume that isn’t too obvious. Or tending to something a tad more important. Whatever the reason, you’ve put off casting your ballot in the November 2 general election. But it’s not too late to submit your vote, and you'll definitely want to: Seattle's deciding on the city's next mayor, a couple of city council positions, and a wild city attorney's race.

It's a big election, which means it's easy to get lost in all the chatter about different candidates and contests. So here's what you need to know to vote in Seattle by 8pm on Tuesday (because we know every procrastinator's first question is how long they have left to turn in their homework).

It's not too late to register to vote in King County.

While online and mailed voter registrations won't be processed in time for this election, civic champions can still fill out their forms at the King County Elections Office in Renton or a vote center—Seattle's is at Lumen Field Event Center—right through Election Day. Not sure if you're registered to vote in Washington? Check your status here.

Registered voters should have received their ballots by now.

Don't despair if you haven't gotten yours: Voters with missing ballots or envelopes can request replacements online or by calling King County Elections at 206-296-8683 during the business day.

Mailed ballots need to be dropped off by the Friday before Election Day.

Mail-ins must be postmarked by Election Day to be counted. Give the U.S. Postal Service a little lead time.

Visiting a ballot drop box is the most hassle-free way to vote after the mail-in deadline.

They're all over the place now, and voters can tuck their envelopes through those slots right up until 8pm on Election Day. Beware: Potential line traffic awaits those cutting it close on time.

Guidance for procrastinating voters is around. You just have to know where to look for it.

A signature on the back of the ballot envelope is required for a vote to count.

People forget this.

Seattle news outlets have approached the mayor's race between M. Lorena González and Bruce Harrell, and the rest of the ballot, from a ton of angles.

There's lots of good prep material out there if you don't want to rely on the old voters' pamphlet, which isn't edited or fact-checked. Reader questions informed Crosscut's election guide. KUOW has its usual medley of audio stories about Seattle racesThe Stranger's "Election Control Board" pulls no progressive punches with its endorsements. And The Seattle Times touts both a general guide to the election and a quiz for selecting the city's next mayor. (We've also written some stuff.)

The Stranger and The Seattle Times are Seattle's two political parties, sorta.

In a city with few Republicans, Seattle voters must comb through candidates representing varying shades of blue. But the endorsements of the Times and The Stranger are reliably centrist and progressive, respectively, so their picks are a quick way to discern the bounds of this Democratic spectrum.

This year, the Times favors Harrell for mayor, Sara Nelson for a citywide council seat, Dow Constantine for King County executive, and Ann Davison for city attorney (it offers no recommendation for the other citywide council seat). The Stranger backs González for the city's top post, Nikkita Oliver and Teresa Mosqueda for citywide council positions, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy for city attorney, and Joe Nguyen for King County executive.

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