OLYMPIA – Last year, state lawmakers passed a slate of “Access to Democracy” bills to help eliminate barriers to voting and simplify the registration process for all eligible voters in Washington state. Today, one more “Access to Democracy” bill has cleared the House and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
House Bill 1520, sponsored by Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland), would require the date of the election to be prominently displayed on the envelope in which a voter receives their ballot and other election materials.
“Even sweepstakes offers have the return date on the outside of the envelope. They put it there because it works. It reminds people to fill it out and turn it in. Shouldn’t this same useful information be on our ballots – the very thing our democracy depends on?” Morgan said.
Morgan’s district, the 29th Legislative District in Pierce County, has one of the lowest rates of voter participation in the state. Knowing that Washington has led the way with voter access bills, she was interested in what more can be done to make voting more inclusive and to increase engagement within communities that have not actively participated before.
“This may seem like a small change, but it makes a big difference,” Morgan said. “A clearly visible ballot return date will encourage more people to take part in their civic duty as voters. This is inclusion for democracy.”
The bill passed the House 95 to 0.