Inslee signs voting bills into law

Bills help people better access the voting and election process in Washington state.

For The Reporter

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a series of bills into law Monday intended to help people better access the voting and election process in Washington state.

Inslee signed House Bill 2595 (automatic voter registration), House Bill 1513 (youth voter pre-registration), House Bill 2406 (improved election security and auditing) and other bills at Foster High School.

House Bill 2595 changes state law so that when citizens obtain enhanced drivers’ licenses or identification cards, they are automatically registered to vote.

According to a summary of the bills in a press release by the Washington House Democrats, automatic voter registration boosts the number of registered voters and produces better turnout in elections.

According to the release, nine states have already adopted automatic voter registration.

“I firmly believe you get better government when you have better participation. We should remove hurdles to the process. Nothing will change the requirements for voting. You still have to be 18 years old, a resident of Washington, and a U.S. citizen. This bill makes voter registration easier and up to date with modern technology,” Rep. Zack Hudgins, chair of the House State Government, Elections & Information Technology committee, said in the press release.

House Bill 1513 enacts the Future Voter Program, which allows people to pre-register to vote at the age of 16, according to the release. It went on to say that 12 states allow pre-registration at 16, and four states allow it at age 17.

“We’ve found that when people are pre-registered to vote earlier, there’s a much higher likelihood that people will become regular voters and more engaged. Pre-registering 16 and 17-year-olds to vote gives them the opportunity to start from day one voting as soon as they turn 18, and that should make them lifetime voters. That’s the ultimate goal,” Rep. Steve Berguist said in the press release.

House Bill 2406 addresses election security in the state.

According to the release, a report from the Center for American Progress gives Washington a “C” on election security.

The release lists improvements for the election-security issue, among them:

• The outlining of “best practices” for election audits by requiring county auditors to audit election results using at least one of the approved methods;

• Requiring vendors of voting systems to disclose security breaches in their systems;

• Requiring the Secretary of State to investigate the cause of discrepancies found during audits;

• Authorizing the Secretary of State to decertify faulty or suspect systems;

• Requiring that random check procedures include a process for expansion of an audit in cases that reveal a discrepancy;

• Requiring the Secretary of State to report on recommendations for adopting best practices and uniform procedures around random checks for ballot counting equipment;

• Allowing for risk-limiting audits, considered the new ‘gold standard’ of post-election audits.

“Due to recent national events, Americans have become justifiably concerned with the security of our election system. This law encourages best practices for election security through auditing and/or emergency planning. These recommendations built off current practice by elections auditors, and are a result of many interim conversations with elections experts,” Hudgins said in the release.

More in Northwest

Thom Cantrell, one of the organizers of the upcoming International Conference for Primal People, holds up a mould of a Sasquatch footprint. He said the mould was taken in the Blue Mountains in Oregon by Paul Freeman, a well-known Sasquatch hunter who’s 1994 footage of a Sasquatch in that area made big waves in the believer and skeptic communities alike. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
All things Sasquatch in Enumclaw

Washington state is famous for countless reasons. It’s the birthplace of Starbucks… Continue reading

Walkers rest amid the trees at Island Center Forest on Vashon Island, which is part of King County. Many trees around Western Washington are struggling, including Western hemlock on Vashon, likely from drought stress. Photo by Susie Fitzhugh
King County forests are facing new challenges

Hot, dry summers are stressing native tree species in Western Washington.

Jim Pitts stands on walkway overlooking filtration chambers at the King County South Treatment Plant in Renton. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Human waste: Unlikely climate change hero?

King County treatment plant joins effort to counteract effects of carbon dioxide.

Washington State Capitol Building. Photo by Emma Epperly/WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Legislation targets rape kit backlog

WA has about 10,000 untested kits; new law would reduce testing time to 45 days

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources/Kari Greer
Western Washington faces elevated wildfire risk in 2019

Humans cause majority of fires in state

Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County approves bargaining agreement with 60 unions

Employees will receive wage increases and $500 bonus.

File photo
Law enforcement oversight office seeks subpoena power

Organization has been unable to investigate King County Sheriff’s Office.

Call for peace, unity, understanding

City, county and state leaders show support of Islam community in wake of massacre at New Zealand mosques

King County bail reform hinges on pretrial decision making

Data on inmates has shown that being held pretrial affects the likelihood of conviction.

Clues for fixing King County’s child care woes may be found in British Columbia

B.C. struggles with many of the same problems as Washington state.

A look inside the King County Juvenile Detention Center. File photo
King County is still using solitary confinement on juveniles

Report on solitary confinement shows the county is not honoring its agreement.