Washington

Articles about voting issues in Washington State.

Washington: State House Passes Washington State Voting Rights Act | The Seattle Medium | The Seattle Medium

The Washington State House of Representatives recently passed the Washington Voting Rights Act by a 52-46 vote. This is the sixth time that the House has passed the Voting Rights Act, but the first time that the House is taking action on a bill that has already passed the Senate. According to supporters, The Washington Voting Rights Act would allow communities that are systemically disenfranchised in local government elections to work collaboratively with their local governing bodies to adjust their elections through local remedies such as districted systems. This act focuses on a collaborative process rather than litigation, which currently is the only path to relief under the Federal Voting Rights Act. If this collaborative process fails, communities can then seek relief in state court.

Full Article: State House Passes Washington State Voting Rights Act - The Seattle Medium | The Seattle Medium.

Washington: Automatic Voter Registration Passed Out of Senate | The Chronicle

Depending on how things shape up in the state House of Representatives, Washington could soon allow automatic voter registration. Senate BIll 6353, introduced by Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, passed out of the Senate earlier this month on a 34-13 vote and is now awaiting review and action in the House. “Voting is a right, not a privilege,” Hunt said in a press release. “We need to make voting as easy as possible for every citizen in Washington and that starts with registration. We now have the technology to make it seamless, so why wouldn’t we? Automatic voter registration will increase the opportunity to register and vote without endangering the security of the election process.”

Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration Passed Out of Senate | News | chronline.com.

Washington: House Committee Considers Same-Day Voter Registration | Spokane Public Radio

A Washington House committee is considering a bill that would allow people to register to vote and then cast ballots on the same day. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue). “If you look at the five other states that have same-day voter registration, you’ll see that they have increased their voter participation, in some cases, as much as 10%, which is significant by any measure.”

Full Article: WA House Committee Considers Same-Day Voter Registration | Spokane Public Radio.

Washington: Nearly 7,000 Washington Voters Will Get Last Minute Ballots Due To Motor Voter Error | NW News Network

A batch of late-arriving ballots is going out to nearly 7,000 Washington voters in advance of next Tuesday’s special election. That’s because of an error in the state’s Motor Voter system that allows people to register to vote when they get a drivers license. Washington’s Department of Licensing said a software error prevented Motor Voter information from being transmitted to the Secretary of State’s office. The error affects people who changed their names on their driver’s license and in the process were assigned a new license number. The Department of Licensing said it identified and fixed the error in late January, but it’s just now being made public.

Full Article: Nearly 7,000 Washington Voters Will Get Last Minute Ballots Due To Motor Voter Error | NW News Network.

Washington: Seattle says Facebook is violating city campaign finance law | Reuters

Seattle’s election authority said on Monday that Facebook Inc is in violation of a city law that requires disclosure of who buys election ads, the first attempt of its kind to regulate U.S. political ads on the internet. Facebook must disclose details about spending in last year’s Seattle city elections or face penalties, Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, said in a statement. The penalties could be up to $5,000 per advertising buy, Barnett said, adding that he would discuss next steps this week with Seattle’s city attorney. It was not immediately clear how Facebook would respond if penalized. Facebook said in a statement it had sent the commission some data.

Full Article: Seattle says Facebook is violating city campaign finance law.

Washington: State bills allowing same-day voter registration, local redistricting to empower minorities move ahead | Sequim Gazette

The state Senate passed several bills aimed at expanding access to voting and promoting minority representation in local governments through redistricting. On the evening of Jan. 17, in a reconvened Senate floor vote session, the body passed SB 6021, which would allow voters to register for elections in-person up until 8 p.m. on the day of an election and eight days before if registering online or by mail. The bill passed 29-20 and now goes to the House.

Full Article: State bills allowing same-day voter registration, local redistricting to empower minorities move ahead | Sequim Gazette.

Washington: Automatic Voter Registration Could Come to Washington | Seattle Weekly

Voting advocate Sean Jacobson has grown accustomed to hearing about the many barriers that young adults face in becoming politically engaged. As an organizer with the youth mobilization nonprofit the Washington Bus, Jacobson says that many of the students he meets during registration drives on college campuses are unsure if they’re registered to vote. Students often move from their hometowns to another jurisdiction for school and fail to update their registrations. Frequent mobility is just one challenge that prevents youth from turning out to vote. A lack of transportation and unfamiliarity with the issues can also preclude young adults from civic engagement.

Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration Could Come to Washington | Seattle Weekly.

Washington: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Snoqualmie Valley Record

Voting rights legislation proposed by Democratic lawmakers aims to boost election turnout for young and low-income voters and enhance representation in communities often left out in political affairs. One bill would allow local governments to change their local election processes without going through court; the other would extend the voter registration period and allow same-day in-person registration. Both bills have versions in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two bills in the House were heard on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and the two bills in the Senate were heard on Wednesday Jan. 10.

Full Article: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Snoqualmie Valley Record.

Washington: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Auburn Reporter

Voting rights legislation proposed by Democratic lawmakers aims to boost election turnout for young and low-income voters and enhance representation in communities often left out in political affairs. One bill would allow local governments to change their local election processes without going through court; the other would extend the voter registration period and allow same-day in-person registration. Both bills have versions in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two bills in the House were heard on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and the two bills in the Senate were heard on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Officials and student group leaders from Yakima showed strong support for two bills at the Senate version of the proposal’s hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 10 in Olympia.

Full Article: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Auburn Reporter.

Washington: Seattle’s Creative Campaign Finance Reform | Democracy Journal

During the 2017 election cycle, which included races for City Council, school board, and the Mayor, the City of Seattle sent every registered voter—442,316 people in total—four pieces of paper. The papers, called Democracy Vouchers, were each worth $25, paid for by the taxpayers, and were to be used for the sole purpose of making contributions to that year’s active campaigns. This was the trial run for the Democracy Voucher program, born out of a 2015 citizen-led initiative called Honest Elections, which included a suite of other campaign finance reforms policies, including lower contribution caps and new rules about paid signature gathering. The vouchers are paid for by a property tax (Washington state has no income tax and uses property taxes and levies to fund most of its new programs) “amounting to a total of $3 million per year to fund the program for the next 10 years,” according to the city.

Full Article: Seattle’s Creative Campaign Finance Reform : Democracy Journal.

Washington: New push coming for automatic voter registration | The Columbian

Activists in Clark County and across the state are preparing for a new push to enact automatic voter registration in Washington either in the upcoming legislative session or through a ballot initiative next year. If adopted, the state would automatically register voters who prove their eligibility when they interface with government offices, such as getting an enhanced driver’s license. Proponents say it not only increases voter turnout and engagement but also streamlines the process. “The idea, from our perspective, is to make voting as easy as possible,” said Alice Perry Linker, a volunteer with an informal group of that’s supporting the effort. “It’s a right that all citizens have and we want to make it easy for them.”

Full Article: New push coming for automatic voter registration | The Columbian.

Washington: State Reveals Upcoming Federal Cybersecurity Pilot, After DHS Confirms Attempted Election Breaches | Gov Tech

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said three months ago that people linked to the Russian government had attempted to hack election-related sites and information in 21 states. But on Sept. 22, DHS made it official, contacting election officials in those states to more formally notify them of having been targeted. Only one, the state of Illinois, was deemed as having been “breached,” according to a Washington Post analysis that pointed to the previously revealed exposure of personal information belonging to “tens of thousands of voters.” With its next election about six weeks away, a top Washington state elections official said the agency will soon embark on a three-month federal pilot aimed at improving cybersecurity, and officials are optimistic the electoral cycle will be uneventful and appear largely unchanged to voters.

Full Article: Washington State Reveals Upcoming Federal Cybersecurity Pilot, After DHS Confirms Attempted Election Breaches.

Washington: About those ‘democracy vouchers.’ They didn’t work for everyone | KUOW

This year, Seattle embarked on a bold political experiment in public funding for elections: the Democracy Voucher program. But Hisam Goueli, a candidate for Seattle City Council Position 8, says the new voucher system is broken and lead to “frustration and tears” for his campaign. Although he received nearly $20,000, the money arrived the day before the primary election. Goueli saw the program as a great opportunity for a first-time candidate like himself to run a competitive campaign. In the taxpayer-funder program, each registered voted in Seattle was issued four $25 vouchers, which they can “donate” to the candidate of their choice. But Goueli says that dream turned into a total nightmare, when he and his campaign manager ended up spending “four or five hours each day trying to get the democracy voucher program working.” 

Full Article: About those ‘democracy vouchers.’ They didn’t work for everyone | KUOW News and Information.

Washington: County auditors want the State to pay its ‘fair share’ on the price of elections | KOMO

It’s a fact few people, even politicians know: Every jurisdiction, whether it be a city, town, fire district, school district or water district, must pay its county’s election department to get their races and measures on a ballot. There’s one exception- the State of Washington. State laws says the state is exempt from reimbursing counties the costs of putting state and federal races on ballots during years ending in an even number. State auditors and election officials say those costs are being place on the backs of counties and jurisdictions — some that can barely afford to put on an election. “The state is getting a free ride in even years when it’s the most expensive,” says Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor who is heading up a legislative effort of state auditors to change the law.

Full Article: County auditors want the State to pay its 'fair share' on the price of elections | KOMO.

Washington: Director of Elections Tells DOJ Voter Rolls Are ‘Accurate’ 
 | NPR

Washington state’s voter rolls are “accurate,” and the state follows federal election laws. That’s the message Washington Director of Elections, Lori Augino, is sending to the U.S. Department of Justice. President Donald Trump has alleged widespread voter fraud in last year’s election. He’s formed a Commission on Election Integrity to investigate. Trump’s Department of Justice has also sent letters to secretaries of state asking for information on how they purge their voter rolls of “ineligible voters.” Augino has now sent a four-page response to DOJ. It says the state routinely compares its voter registration database to lists of deaths and felony convictions. And the state looks for duplicates every night.

Full Article: Washington State Tells DOJ Voter Rolls Are 'Accurate' 
 | KLCC.

Washington: In Seattle, vouchers let voters steer city money to political campaigns. But some aren’t buying it | Los Angeles Times

The nation’s first “political voucher” system — a coupon of sorts that lets voters direct public money into the campaigns of candidates — is a rousing success in Jon Grant’s view. Vying for a seat on the Seattle City Council, Grant has raised $186,000 through the vouchers, which are funded by a city property tax and intended to offset the financial advantage of big-money candidates. “The last time I ran,” says Grant, a community activist who unsuccessfully sought a council seat in 2015, “our campaign was outspent 8 to 1.” This time he’s the one outspending his opponents.

Full Article: In Seattle, vouchers let voters steer city money to political campaigns. But some aren't buying it - LA Times.

Washington: Lawsuit challenges Seattle campaign ‘democracy vouchers’ | The Seattle Times

Seattle’s first-in-the-nation voucher system for publicly financing political campaigns is facing a new legal challenge by two local property owners who say it forces them to support candidates they don’t like. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian-leaning law firm, sued the city Wednesday in King County Superior Court over the “democracy voucher” program, which was passed by voters in 2015 and is being used for the first time in this year’s City Council and city attorney races. Under the program, Seattle’s voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in exchange for four $25 vouchers that they can sign over to candidates. According to the city, it costs the average homeowner $11.50 per year.

Full Article: Lawsuit challenges Seattle campaign ‘democracy vouchers’ | The Seattle Times.

Washington: Official: Washington election departments targets for hacking | Q13

As many as 100 election departments from cities and counties across the United States may have been penetrated by Russian hackers. That’s the revelation from a report allegedly from the National Security Agency, according to an online media outlet The Intercept, which published what it claims to be a classified report that said Russian agents at the direction of the government attacked a voting machine company and then tried to infiltrate local election boards. The FBI on Tuesday arrested a federal contractor for allegedly having leaked the NSA report to The Intercept.

Full Article: Official: Washington election departments targets for hacking | Q13 FOX News.

Washington: How Many Voters Could Automatic Voter Registration Add to the Voter Rolls in Washington State? | Sightline Institute

Oregon’s New Motor Voter law empowered more than a quarter-million voters in its first nine months. Six states plus Washington, DC, are now implementing automatic voter registration, including Alaska, which approved it by a landslide in November. Evergreen State readers may be wondering: What about Washington? Can’t we do that, too? Yes. But it’s complicated. The number of voting-age Washingtonians who are not registered to vote has grown steadily in the past few decades. Although more voters registered in 2016, nearly 1.3 million voting-age adults in Washington remain unregistered. Adding them to voter rolls once they prove their citizenship would ensure they receive mail-in ballots and can vote in future elections. Most registered voters cast ballots only some of the time, which is their choice. When Oregon introduced its automatic registration system this year, about a quarter of the automatically registered newcomers to the rolls cast ballots in November’s US election.

Full Article: How Many Voters Could Automatic Voter Registration Add to the Voter Rolls in Washington State? | Sightline Institute.

Washington: Ballot box bill could raise cost of local elections, officials say | Kitsap Sun

A  state Senate bill that would require counties to increase the number of ballot drop boxes could bump the cost of elections in Kitsap County by more than $50,000, election officials say. The bill, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, would force counties to add one drop box for every 15,000 voters, one in every city and in each census-designated place with a post office. Sen. Kirk Pearson, R- Monroe, the bill’s lone sponsor, argued in testimony that adding more ballot boxes would increase access to voting in smaller, less-populated areas. The cost of postage should be considered a barrier that discourages people from voting, he said. But county election officials say the parameters of the measure are too restrictive and would force taxpayers to bear the brunt of the cost.

Full Article: Ballot box bill could raise cost of local elections, officials say.