During the short-term legislative session, state lawmakers passed several bills that address election security, voter registration, election operations and more. March 28 marked the final day Governor Jay Inslee could sign the bills into law. Here’s what he signed:
Voting Rights Act (ESSB 6002): Ensures equal opportunity for minority groups to participate in elections. Per the act, school districts, cities, fire commissioners, port commissioners and public utilities districts can adopt district-based elections. Effective June 7, 2018.
Election Security Practices (SHB 2406): Permits the Washington Secretary of State to decertify a voting system or a component for reasons specified in the law. Effective June 7, 2018.
Election Continuity of Operations (SHB 2628): Requires that a copy of all county election operations plans be maintained by the Washington State Military Department. Effective June 7, 2018.
Write-in Voting (SB 6058): Mandates write-in candidates to make declarations of candidacy in order to be eligible to receive votes. Additionally, the law lifts a filing fee for write-in candidates that declare candidacy at least 18 days before the election and imposes a fee for write-in candidates who declare 18 days prior to an election. Effective June 7, 2018.
Voter Registration Period (SSB 6021): Changes the in-person registration deadline to 8 p.m. on election day. The law requires that voters register by mail or
electronically no later than eight days prior to an election, as opposed to the current 29 days. Effective June 30, 2018.
Automatic Voter Registration (E2SHB 2595): Individuals who obtain an enhanced driver’s license or identicard can be automatically registered to vote. Other agencies, such as the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington State Military Department, will also offer the option. Effective July 1, 2019.
Youth Voter Registration (2SHB 1513): Upon turning age 16, individuals can sign up to register to vote to be added to an official list of registered voters at age 18. The law permits voter registration events in high school classes on Temperance and Good Citizenship days. Effective July 1, 2019.
Information provided by the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office.