The Washington State Legislature convened on Monday, January 8th and in the next 60 days, the Washington Voting Justice Coalition is working non-stop to pass several policies that would fundamentally change our democracy and give voice to tens of thousands of voters across the state.
It’s an exciting time to engage in making sure every vote is counted and every voice is heard in Washington. Below are our priority policy issues and immediate ways to take action to modernize our voting system.
AVR gives eligible citizens a chance to have their voice heard and their vote counted in Washington State by modernizing our voter registration system. House Bill 2595 would automatically register voters who get Enhanced Driver’s Licenses through the Department of Licensing, receive services through the Health Benefit Exchange, and creates a pathway for other state agencies interacting with voters to automatically register or update their registration information. AVR saves money, and creates more efficient and accurate voter registration systems, improving the process for voters and those responsible for administering elections.
The Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA) ensures that every voter has an equal opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice. Local democracy is strongest when everyone is engaged and has an opportunity to have their voice heard. However, across Washington state, election systems have failed to keep up with the changing demographics of our cities, towns and school districts – excluding communities of color from a fair chance at representation. Senate Bill 6002/House Bill 1800 provides the necessary protections for both voters and local governments by creating a clear and collaborative process for addressing polarized voting. The WVRA promotes stronger local elections by giving every voter a fair chance to elect leaders of their choice.
Washingtonians need to be able to register to vote during the times when they are most aware and excited about voting. Currently, voter registration ends 29 days before an election unless you can travel to a County auditor office and register in person within 8 days of an Election. Senate Bill 6021/House Bill 2297 changes these deadlines so voters can register to vote up until Election Day and not be left out of important elections. Specifically, this bill allows people to register to vote online or with a paper form that gets mailed in within 8 days of an election, or register in person at a County Auditor office or voting center by 8pm on Election Day.
House Bill 1513 allows 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote in high schools, online, in-person, and at the Department of Licensing. They would then receive their ballot when they turn 18 and are eligible to vote. Engaging voters at a young age leads to increased participation over a lifetime
TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW TO PASS THESE IMPORTANT REFORMS
Taking action to support these bills is as easy as leaving a message in Olympia. The more your elected officials hear from you, the more they know these are priorities for passing in a short legislative session.
Please take two minutes between 8am and 7pm on a weekday to call 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message with an operator who will deliver it to your elected officials. In your message, say: “Please support access to democracy so every Washingtonian’s voice is heard. Vote now for HB 2595, SB 6002/HB 1800, SB 6021/HB 2297, and HB 1513”.