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Time running out to register
"There will be a lot to decide November 7. Voters will need to make decisions about state school funding, the distribution of transportation dollars, even animal traps. Then there are all the candidates for office such as state Legislature, Congress, county commissioner, governor and, oh yes, president.If you want to be one of the decision makers, you have to be registered to vote and time is running out. By state law, you must register at least 30 days in advance of an election - in other words by this Saturday, Oct. 7 - if you're registering by mail and 15 days prior to election day, or Oct. 23, if you register in person. To qualify as a Washington voter you must be a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of Washington state, and at least 18 years old by election day. You do not have to declare membership in a political party to vote.Voter registration is overseen by the Secretary of State's office in Olympia and by the Island County Auditor's office locally. You can pick up a mail-in registration form at local libraries or from the county Auditor's office. You can also request a mail-in registration from the Secretary of State's Web site at www.vote.wa.gov but because the mail-in deadline is this Saturday, the Web site is probably not the best source if you wish to vote next month. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by the 30-day cutoff date or you won't be officially registered by Nov. 7.You have more time if you visit the Auditor's office in Coupeville personally and fill out the registration form and an application for an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots will be available as early as Oct. 18 and must be must be postmarked by election day if voting by mail, dropped off at the Auditor's office by the end of election day, or delivered to a polling place before polls close on election day.If you'd prefer to vote using an absentee ballot rather than going to a polling place you need to visit or call the Auditor's office to get a request form. You can request either a one-time ballot or ongoing absentee status where a ballot will be mailed to you prior to each election.For more information contact the Island County Auditor at 679-7366 or visit the Auditor's Web site at www.islandcounty.net/auditor. "