Thursday, March 7, 2013

House takes steps to increase voter participation

While many states across the country are trying to restrict access to the ballot box, the Washington House is moving in the opposite direction.  On Thursday, members passed a slate of bills that will improve voter participation and boost diversity among the men and women who hold elected office in our state.

Chief among those bills is the Voting Rights Act of 2013 which promotes equal voting opportunities and fairness in political subdivisions to improve representation of under-represented groups.  The bill empowers local communities that have had difficulties getting communitiy members elected at-large.

Other voter bills passed today:
  • HB 1267 changes registration deadlines to 11 days prior to Election Day.
  • HB 1279 allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote when they get their driver's license.  They will not be allowed to vot until they are 18, of course, but will be registered and ready.
  • HB 1195 expands the requirement that no primary be held when there are no more than two candidates filing for office to include all nonpartisan offices.
  • HJM 4001 requests Congress to enact a constitutional amendment returning authority to regulate election-campaign contributions to Congress and the state legislatures.  This Joint Memorial is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.
Read this story in Spanish.