Washington State Voting Rights Legislation
- Washington State Voting Rights Act
- Same-Day Voter Registration
- The DISCLOSE Act
The Washington State Voting Rights Act
The Washington Voting Rights Act is modeled after the California Voting Rights Act of 2002 which is said to have improved local elections systems that were previously denying minority communities fair opportunities to vote for candidates of their choice. Washington's Voting Rights Act would empower local governments to work directly with their communities to fix outdated or unfair election systems without being compelled to do so by federal intervention or costly litigation.
The Washington Voting Rights Act has been introduced separately in both the Senate and House of Representatives in our legislature, and is presently embodied in SB 6002 (the Senate bill) and HB 1800 (the House bill). The Senate has passed its version, and that bill is now pending action in the House. It has been tentatively set for a hearing there before the House Committee on State Government, Elections & Information Technology on January 26 at 8am.
Same-Day Voter Registration
The legislation in Senate bill SB 6021 would allow for same-day voter registration in Washington until 8pm on Election Day if done in person, or up to 8 days prior to an election if registration is done online or by mail. According to 22nd Legislative District Senator Sam Hunt, same-day voter registration has been shown to increase turnout by up to 10%, and the 5 states with the highest percentage of voter turnout in 2016 all had same-day registration.
The Senate has completed its work on this bill, too, passing it on to the House. There it has also been referred to the House's Committee on State Government, Elections & Information Technology for further action. You can track the status of the bill HERE.
The DISCLOSE Act
The aim of Senate bill SB 5991 is to shine a light on money spent in Washington state elections by requiring non-profit organizations that make significant campaign contributions and activities to disclose their top donors.
In this instance, too, Senate work has been completed, and the bill sent to the House. A hearing is scheduled there before the House Committee on State Government, Elections & Information Technology, also on January 26 at 8am.
You can find out more about the bill and its status HERE.