Big Changes Coming To Voting Rights And Access In Washington
Youth age 16 and 17 will soon be able to pre-register to vote in Washington. That’s just one of several voting-related bills the governor is scheduled to sign into law Monday.
Washington will join states like California, Oregon and Utah that already allow teens as young as 16 to pre-register to vote. Gov. Jay Inslee will also sign bills allowing for same-day voter registration and to allow customers of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange to automatically register to vote.
In addition, Inslee will sign into law a state Voting Rights Act that advocates have been fighting for for years. It allows members of a protected class of voters to bring a legal challenge if they feel their votes are being diluted by at-large elections.
This was an issue in the city of Yakima a few years ago where Latinos comprise 40 percent of the population, but held no seats on the city council. After a lawsuit forced a shift to district-based elections, three Latinos were elected to the council.
Finally, Inslee will sign a bill known as the DISCLOSE act designed to shed light on so-called “dark money” in politics. It will require all nonprofit organizations that spend $25,000 or more on campaigns and elections to file reports with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
Supporters say it will lead to greater transparency in campaign spending by non-profits that don’t have a separate political committee. Opponents counter it’s an effort to muzzle free speech.
On Super Tuesday, 14 states including California, Colorado and Utah will all cast ballots. The western states increasingly rely on mail-in ballots that often take longer to count. More than 60% of California voters cast absentee ballots in 2018 and it took weeks to call some races in California and Arizona that year. Continue Reading On Super Tuesday, Don’t Expect Quick Election Results From Western States
The announcement was met with jubilant cheers from supporters at a campaign event at Yakima’s McCormick Air Center. Eyman said he initially considered running as an independent because initiatives he sponsored in the past — from $30 car-tabs to a ban on affirmative action in 1998 — were nonpartisan. Continue Reading Tim Eyman Promises ‘Aggressive’ Run For Governor, Switches From Independent To Republican Bid
Civil rights groups are poised to sue Yakima County over their election system, alleging it dilutes Latinx votes in violation of the state Voting Rights Act. Continue Reading Civil Rights Groups Claim Latinx Disenfranchisement In Yakima County, Ready To Sue