Making Democracy Work®
Improve access to the ballot, modernize election methods for better representation, more flexibility, with reliable election security, and provide clear, transparent ballot information for voters.
In the 2023 Legislative session, four Election bills were delivered to Gov. Inslee:
ESHB 1048 Enhanced Washington Voting Rights Act: Signed into Law!
This bill amends sections of the Washington Voting Rights Act to clarify what constitutes a violation of the act. It seeks to protect members of classes who do not have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice through methods that have created vote dilution or polarized voting.
SSB 5082 Abolish Advisory Votes: Signed into Law!
Advisory votes are questions that appear on the ballot regarding state expenditures that have already been passed by the legislature. By having voters mark "repealed" or “maintained”, the wording suggests that they are a binding referendum. However, the results have no impact, and therefore are inconsistent with League principles. Required to be first on the ballot, they often confuse and discourage voters. In addition, they add significantly to election costs. Necessary fiscal information will now be available in a more transparent, easier to understand format - like pie charts - that will show impact to programs by proposed initiatives or referendums.
SSB 5112 Secure Automatic Voter Registration:On the Governor’s desk
Using identifying documents as a prompt, Automatic Voter Registration registers voters and updates existing voter registrations at Dept. of Licensing. The automatic registration means transaction time is shorter, less costly, and it registers more voters. Notice of registration is mailed to the voter, by the appropriate election agency, who then has the option to decline the registration., who can, by returning a postcard, refuse registration. This system provides accurate and updated registration, reduces undeliverable election mail, provisional ballots, and same-day registration. This automatic registration process is used successfully in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and is deemed safe, secure, and efficient from beginning to end.
SSB 5208 Updating the online voter registration by using the last 4 digits of SSN: On the Governor’s desk!
This bill allows online voter registration applicants to provide the last four digits of their social security number for authentication. This makes it easier for those who are eligible, but who do not have a WA driver’s license, to register online. This is in keeping with the League’s position that registering and voting should be as easy as possible for as many citizens as possible.
In the 2024 session, we will again support these bills:
HB 1174 Improving Access and Removing Barriers to Jail-Based Voting
Provides access to registration and voting to those incarcerated in county jails while awaiting trial. This bill passed out of the policy committee, but stalled in the Appropriations committee.
HB 1241Addressing Harassment
SHB 1541 Establishing the Nothing About Us Without Us Act (Lived Experience)
This bill provides the means for including underrepresented populations in policy making discussions where their lived experience can impact decisions made that would affect their group. A bill last year provided stipends enabling certain populations ability to participate; this bill gives them access. This bill passed the House with bipartisan support (83-12-0-3) and was voted out of two Senate committees, but failed to get a floor vote.
HB 1567 Commissioning a study on Conservation District election costs This bill is in response to concerns expressed last session from conservation districts about the cost burden of moving their elections to the general ballot. The League published the results of our study on their election methods and procedures in May 2011 in thisreport. Our position is these elections should be held in regularly scheduled elections to increase public engagement and voter participation.
NOTE: An elections study was approved in the final operating budget. It directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to determine the cost to put all 5 conservation district supervisor positions on the general election ballot under RCW 29A. This will pave the way to getting action on HB 1567 in the 2024 session.
HB 1592 Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Primaries.
League priority bills are in bold below.
|House Bills||House||Senate||After Passage|
|Bill #||Bill Name (Brief Title)||League Position||Take Action||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||Passed Legislature||On Governor's Desk||Signed|
|HB 1048||Enhancing WA Voting Rights Act||Supports|
These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass.
SB 5208/HB 1443 Updating online voter registration to allow authentication with the last four digits of Social Security number, sponsored by Sen. Trudeau, and Rep. Low, this bill has the support of LWVWA.
HB 1241 Addressing Harassment, sponsored by Sen. Leavitt, and has support of LWVWA.
Bills We Are Watching:
SB 5182 Concerning procedures and deadlines for candidate filing, sponsored by Sen. Nguyen.
SB 5153 Concerning records of future voters, sponsored by Sen. Valdez.
Bills No Longer Seeing Action This Session:
HB 1174 Improving Jail-based Voting Access, sponsored by Rep. Simmons, and has support of LWVWA.
HB 1475 Allowing online ballot submission by certain populations, sponsored by Rep. Farivar.