Washington state advances on democratic voting rights

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The Washington Voting Rights Act has passed both chambers of the legislature — sending the bill to Gov Jay Inslee.

 

The bill will establish an easier process for cities, counties and school districts to move from city-wide elections to district elections — before resorting to a lawsuit. Supporters say this will enable candidates to better reflect the demographic, ethnic and economic make-up of their neighborhoods.

 

“It sets up a collaborative process for communities to work it out before you have to go to court,” said Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila.

 

The Washington cities of Yakima and Pasco were sued by residents who said that their city-wide city council elections were racially polarized, keeping Hispanic candidates from winning council seats. After switching to elections based on geographic districts, both cities elected their first Hispanic council members.

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One of the Republicans supporting the bill last week was Rep. Larry Haler of Richland, a city that is 87 percent white. Haler said that the changes in the Voting Rights Act could benefit all underrepresented groups, including lower-income candidates. Weeks ago in a public hearing he supported the bill because five of Richland’s seven city council members came from the same upper-class neighborhood, with city’s poorer neighborhoods not being represented on the council.

 

https://www.seattleglobalist.com/2018/03/05/washington-voting-rights-act-passes-legislature/72542

 

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“It’s largely turning things from an opt-in to an opt-out system,” the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Representative Zack Hudgins was quoted in January after the bill was introduced in a House committee. “We want to increase the number of people that are registering to vote. We want to break down the hurdles and the barriers of registration.”

 

Under HB 2595, anyone 18 years or older who interacts with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is registered to vote. The bill does state voters will be offered an opportunity to decline to be registered.

 

The opt-in system is very similar to legislation passed in Oregon in 2016. During that year, Oregon’s voter turnout rose by 4.1 percent, higher than any other state.

 

So far, nine states plus the District of Columbia have automatic voter registration and just about every state is debating the policy.

http://q13fox.com/2018/03/01/washington-could-become-the-next-state-to-automatically-register-voters/

 

More states should be doing this but we all know why not :celestial5:  

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That is amazing!!! :eek: More states should jump on the bandwagon!!!!  :clap3:

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Washington state leading the way! :clap3: 

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ugh my state is such an icon

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11 hours ago, KimmyBella said:

Why not ? :mandown:

Starts with an R. 

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Pennsylvania Governor retweeted and added this:
Participation in our elections is a key function of democracy. As states around the country take steps to improve voter participation, I'm ready to sign legislation to build on PA's progress and enact same-day registration, automatic registration, and no-excuse absentee voting.
 
Imagine these bills being approved in the near future on top of the new PA Congressional maps that will be used in November :jonny: I wish this had been in place already and Ds campaigned harder there two years ago :rip:

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:clap3: A democracy.

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