Bill to encourage voter registration advances

OLYMPIA – This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1428 to encourage more people to register to vote by changing voter registration deadlines. The legislation would change the deadline for registering online or in-person to 11 days prior to the election. Additionally, registrations sent by mail could be submitted up to 28 days before an election.

“Every person should have a voice in democracy. Making sure your registration is up-to-date is critical to being heard,” said prime sponsor Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien. “Encouraging voter participation is a goal that should be shared by everyone who believes that a democracy represents people, not corporate interests.”

Many of Washington’s colleges begin in the fall just two weeks before the deadline for online registration. Moving the deadline closer to election day will allow more time for student organizations to register voters. “Campus voter registration drives are a great way for young people to get involved in civic life and begin participating in their democracy in a meaningful way,” Fitzgibbon said. “This bill will make democracy more accessible to all Washingtonians.”

Changing the mail-in registration date to 28 days prior to an election fixes a problem that occurs when the current 29-day deadline falls on Columbus Day. Since no mail is delivered on Columbus Day, it is possible for a person to put their registration in the mailbox in advance of the Monday deadline but still miss the deadline.

The bill passed the House 60-38 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.