It turns out the feds had been monitoring the situation all along and threatened suit if Washington State counties didn't get their acts together immediately on the posting of ballots.
The state was far behind all others in mailing them overseas.
This is why so many stationed around the world have been complaining they were denied the right to vote because their home address was in WA State:
(Seattle Times) OLYMPIA Less than a month before the November election, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue Washington state because it was moving too slowly in mailing military ballots overseas.
At that point Washington was the only state that hadn't mailed its overseas ballots.
Questions about military ballots have come up frequently since the Nov. 2 election ended with a deadlocked governor's race. Democrat Christine Gregoire was certified governor-elect Dec. 30 and is to be sworn in Wednesday.
But Republican Dino Rossi has made questions about military ballots, generally seen as Republican votes, a key part of his effort to call for a new election.
On Oct. 7, State Elections Director Nick Handy sent all county auditors an e-mail tagged "URGENT" telling them about a threat from the senior litigation attorney for the Department of Justice. Handy said the state's attorney had been told the federal government "is preparing a lawsuit to be filed tomorrow against the state of Washington."