Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Washington Voting Rights Act goes to the full House of Representatives after a committee approved it along with four other elections bills. Members of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved five pieces of legislation Monday, including the Voting Rights Act, a bill aimed at ending voter exclusion and promoting diversity in elected office. The Washington Voting Rights Act would encourage cities, towns and other local jurisdictions to switch from at-large elections to smaller districted elections. The bill, Moscoso said Tuesday, would empower local communities that have difficulties getting community members elected in at-large elections. The bill would exempt municipalities with populations under 1,000 and school districts with less than 250 students but would give people in qualifying communities the ability to sue in state courts if they feel their rights are being violated.
“Our country was founded on equal opportunity, and it is vital that we make sure that everyone has a voice and an equal shot in our elections,” Moscoso said. “Creating smaller, more localized districts will increase the accountability of elected officials, help local communities elect representatives more in tune with their values and foster a greater diversity of ideas — never a bad plan in government.”
Another bill that the committee forwarded to the full state House Monday would change the registration deadlines leading up to an election from the current 29 days prior to Election Day to the day of a given election for an in-person registration with the auditor’s office and eight days for online registration.