Gov. Jay Inslee today signed five bills — dubbed the Access to Democracy package — to improve voter access and strengthen democracy in Washington state.
Three of the bills make it easier to register to vote, allowing people to register up to and on Election Day, letting 16- and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote, and creating automatic voter registration for citizens obtaining enhanced driver’s licenses or identification cards through the Department of Licensing.
These measures aim to address the low participation rate in elections. More than 1 million Washingtonians were eligible to register to vote in 2016 but didn’t, and of those registered, nearly 1 in 5 didn’t vote. The November 2017 General Election set a record low for voter turnout — only 37 percent of voters returned their ballots.
“That’s nearly 2 million voices going unheard in our state’s democratic process,” Inslee said during a bill-signing ceremony at Foster High School in Tukwila. “Democracy is served when more people participate. I’m proud to be able to say that Washington state is doing everything we can to help make sure that every community, every voice and every vote counts.”
Another bill signed by Inslee, the Washington Voting Rights Act, will promote more equal representation by allowing district-based elections or other alternative voting systems that best suit individual communities.
Read more on the governor's Medium page.