Democracy

JUmp to: elections, Campaign finance & Government ethics; election methods; election security; census & redistricting

ELECTIONS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE & GOVERNMENT ETHICS

Improve access to the ballot, reduce the influence of special interest money, and increase transparency in government and politics.

Issue Team Chair: Kathy Sakahara – ksakahara [at] lwvwa.org – (206) 261-7797
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2019 Legislative Session Expectations

Our democracy goals for the 2019 session include:

  • Expanded voter access. This will include supporting a bill providing postage paid ballots for future elections, expanding the number of state agencies to enact Automatic Voter Registration and carefully monitoring its implementation and working with the Secretary of State on implementation of Same Day Registration and Pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds.
  • Campaign Finance Reform. We are currently working on a draft of a bill to provide public financing of campaigns as will to fight for continue increased transparency in campaign-finance and adequate funding for the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).
  • Strengthening legislative ethics. We are supporting bills (HB 1067 / SB 5033) that would close the “revolving door” between elected  high-level government employees and lobbyists.
  • Expanded public records for the legislature. In 2018, a very controversial bill regarding public records for the legislature was passed but later vetoed by the Governor. A task force on public records was set up and has been meeting and has come out with a report link. We are still reviewing the details of the report and anticipate taking a position on the resulting bill.
Bills the League Supports
  • SB 5063 Providing prepaid postage for ballots.
  • SB 5079 Native American Voting Rights Act. Will enable mail ballots for those living on native lands but without a recognized street address. 
  • HB 1067SB 5033 Establishes a one-year “cooling off” period before high-level government officials, including elected officials can work as a lobbyist influencing state public policy. 
Bills the League is Watching

It is likely that we will support a number of the bills below, but we need additional time to review the language of each bill, consider its impact, and determine if we have appropriate League positions that apply to these bills:

  • SB 5073 Requiring the state to reimburse County auditors for the proportionate cost of elections involving state offices.
  • SB 5078 Requiring disclosure of five years of tax returns before a presidential or vice presidential candidate can appear on a ballot
  • SB 5012 Establishing guidelines and requirements for the continuity of Government services in the case of a catastrophic event. 

ELECTION METHODS
Promote the adoption and implementation of election methods that maximize representation and citizen participation.

Issue Team Chair:
 Barbra Chevalier
 – barbra.n.chevalier [at] gmail.com – (425) 445-2281
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2019 Legislative Session Expectations


Current state law does not allow non-charter jurisdictions (most counties and cities in Washington) to use any election method other than plurality (first past the post). This means that the only electoral system available to most residents is the one that, on many counts, is the most flawed.

In the 2018 legislative session a bill was introduced to allow all jurisdictions to adopt alternative voting methods. This bill did not make it out of committee.

We anticipate a rewritten version of the Local Options Bill to be introduced in the 2019 session. It will be amended to allow only Ranked Choice/Instant Runoff Voting (RCV/IRV) as an alternative to plurality, as well as address the requisite subsequent changes to primary elections. Note that this bill simply gives jurisdictions the option to adopt RCV/IRV; it does NOT require that they do so.

This bill is an important first step toward the long term goal of implementing proportional representation in Washington. A robust show of support by constituents would help bring the Local Options Bill to legislators’ attention and could make a real difference in getting it passed.

ELECTION SECURITY

Promote security, accuracy, auditability, and transparency in elections.

Issue Team Chair: Kirstin Mueller – kpmueller [at] gmail.com – (425) 293-5046
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2019 Legislative Session Expectations

The League will work with legislators during the 2019 legislative session to improve election security by supporting:

  • Improved cybersecurity measures to ensure our voting system can be defended against attacks.
  • Publicly verifiable post-election audits and easy and timely access to audit results.
  • Improved reconciliation reports including greater detail of ballot rejection rates.
  • Improved tracking and procedures for chain of custody of voted ballots.
  • Public access to election records including ballot images and cast vote records when voter privacy and ballot anonymity can be maintained.
CENSUS & REDISTRICTING

Ensure the redistricting process is accessible and transparent with timeframes that enable input and strengthen results and support an accurate and complete 2020 Census.


Issue Team Chair: Alison McCaffree – alison.mccaffree [at] stanfordalumni.org – (253) 720-6813
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2019 Legislative Session Expectations

The League will be working on the following issues in this session:

    • Allocate additional money from Washington State to support the Census outreach process; augmenting the federal funds from the U.S. Census Bureau.
    • Enhance administrative requirements of the Washington State Redistricting Commission by moving commissioner appointments sooner, requiring more public access and increasing transparency.
    • Change the composition of Washington’s Redistricting Commission to include women and people of color, additional representation from outside the dominate parties and from regions outside of Puget Sound.


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