What Can We Learn From Voter Registration Cards?

When Washington became a state in 1889, state law established that each registered voter would receive a certification containing the following information:


Early voter registration cards established where a citizen lived and voted. The voter registration card you receive in the mail today provides similar information, but we’ve had some updates roll out in the meantime. Can you spot the differences?


  • Today’s voter registration cards have your voter ID number. Your voter ID number is unique to you and allows us to easily locate your voter registration file anytime you have questions or need to update your voter information.
  • In addition to your precinct, your voter card also displays congressional, legislative, county council and city council districts.
  • Notice the reference to “he” in line 7. According to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, “in 1854, Washington nearly became the first state to grant women’s suffrage, but the proposal was defeated by a single vote.” It wasn’t until 1910 that Washington state amended its Constitution to grant women the right to vote, 10 years before the rest of the country!

Now that Washington is a vote-by-mail state, why do we need a voter registration card?
Your voter registration card serves not only as an acknowledgement of your registration but also gives you the opportunity to ensure that your name and address are correct. This is important because your address determines what measures and candidate races are on your ballot!

To learn more, check out The History of Elections and Voting in Washington.