Access to Democracy Bills Include Same Day Registration

OLYMPIA – Voters in Washington elections may soon be able to register to vote on Election Day thanks to legislation sponsored by Rep. Laurie Dolan, D-Olympia. Democrats in the state legislature are proposing a series of bills to expand access to voting, including Dolan’s same day registration proposal.

Under current law, electronic or mail registration must be submitted 29 days before the election or in person eight days before the election. Same Day Voter Registration allows in person registration by 8pm on Election Day, or online or mail registration within eight days of the election. Updates to valid registration could also be done on Election Day.

At the hearing, a representative from the League of Women Voters, Kathy Sakahara, spoke on the merits of Same Day Voter Registration.

“This makes voter registration more convenient and will greatly grow the number of people engaged in the system. There are two things we know about voting: It is habit-forming and it is contagious,” said Sakahara.

“Voting is the most sacred democratic institution and deserves to have the broadest access we can offer,” said Dolan. “Allowing same day registration increases voter participation and strengthens our democracy. I am ready to see this bill become law in 2018.”

Dolan’s bill, HB 2297, passed out of the House Committee on State Government, Elections & Information Technology with a vote of 5-4.

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