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.
A bill in the Washington Senate seeks to improve voting rights for Native Americans. The Native American Voting Rights Act is sponsored by John McCoy, the only tribal member in the state Senate. Continue Reading Washington Legislators Consider Statewide Native American Voting Rights Act
In 2018, San Juan County had the highest voter turnout at nearly 84 percent, while Yakima County had the lowest at 61 percent. One major reason for that gap: demographics.
Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen was among the Republicans fighting to keep his seat after Tuesday’s election. AUSTIN JENKINS / N3 Listen It wasn’t a… Continue Reading Democrats Make Gains In Washington Legislature, Many Races Too Close To Call