In an effort to ensure ballots are mailed in a timely manner, and arrive in plenty of time for voters to fill out and return, Washington State Secretary of State Kim Wyman Wednesday issued what's being called an "emergency rule change."

Normally, ballots, by law, have to be mailed no later than October 16, and are done by bulk rate, meaning anywhere from three to 10 days to arrive.

Under the new rule, all ballot packets must be sent 1st. class, and no later than October 15. This means voters will received them in between 2 and 5 days. Wyman and state officials say this measure is to reassure voters and give them more peace of mind about mail in ballot issues that are being so widely discussed.

Once they are filled out, Wyman says voters should return them by mail at least a full week prior to election day.

However, if at all possible, it's preferred voters drop off their completed ballots in drop boxes located at county auditor's offices and other areas in the county. There are over 500 such locations throughout the state.

If in doubt, there is always one in our region at the city hall, county courthouse, auditors office, or simply search ballot boxes in your particular county. Direct drop off removes any chance of any potential mailing issues, although the USPS has given ample proof they are ready and able to handle the volume of votes expected this November.

VOTE!