Author Archives: Steve Zemke

On Ignoring Trump’s Tweets – Time to Attack GOP’s Bad Policy Proposals

It’s time for Democrats and others who do not support Trump’s proposed agenda and that of the GOP that now controls Congress, to start talking about the issues facing our country. Many of the programs and laws that progressives have put in place to help people and make America a better place to live are now  under threat of being reversed and lost.

It’s time to stop responding to Trump’s inane and diversionary tweets (and other comments) as Jack Shafer on Politico writes in a post entitled “Stop Being Trump’s Twitter Fool” As Shafer says:

“By this time you’d expect that people would have figured out when Donald Trump is yanking their chain and pay him the same mind they do phone calls tagged “Out of Area” by Caller ID. But, no. Like Pavlov’s dog, too many of us leap to object or correct the president-elect whenever he composes a deliberately provocative tweet …”

It’s time to refocus on America and protecting the advances made by Democrats over the years. Trump has dominated the media for the last year and a half with his reality TV show hype and rant. The media was taken in by it as well as the Democratic Party. He has snookered many Americans into voting for him based on short soundbites that says little about what he would do.

We do know however the broad outline based on years of right wing proposals in Congress and Trump seems to be in the their camp on most of these proposals. Have no doubt –  the agenda of the far right, the tea party and GOP conservatives will be advancing through Congress now with Trump winning the Presidency and Republicans controlling both the US House and US Senate. There is no sense that the Republicans will be restrained or reasonable in their moving forward. And there is no longer someone in the White House to veto their proposals.

It’s time to now aggressively go on the offense and work to change the discussion to where they are vulnerable. It’s time, for example,  to emphasize how they are threatening human health and our planet by proposing to ignore or reject the Paris Climate Agreement. We need to aggressively reduce carbon pollution, not work to produce more while enriching coal and oil companies and  generating more pollution. We need to shift to a post carbon economy.

Push them on the national minimum wage not being raised because of Republican opposition since 2009, stuck at $7.25 and no automatic adjustment for inflation. The current minimum wage is a starvation wage, not a living wage. It is an affront to human dignity and decency and Republicans should be ashamed. Push for a $15/hour minimum wage.

Talk about how cutting taxes for the wealthy like the inheritance tax and income taxes is just going to further increase income inequality. The country more and more is a plutocracy where a wealthy few are running it. Electing a so called billionaire who has used the anger of working families to get elected by offering them change he never really defined is a recipe for being hoodwinked.

Talk about how their continuing to propose to privatize medicare and social security will hurt millions of low income people. That is not caring for working families – it is merely following the agenda of those that want to extract more profit for the few at the top of medical corporations and pharmaceutical companies. Health care is a human right and should not turn wage earners into pawns to extract money from to further enrich the wealthy.

Talk about how Democratic economic policies will help working families while Trump’s are focused on helping the already wealthy 1% and corporate America.

Talk about how to educate our children, not make schools into profit machines to enrich the few by using public money for private schools and charter schools.

The change we need is to talk about the impact of his proposed policies, not his personality since we’ve seen that is not effective even if what is said is true. Talk about how Democratic polices  make life better for working families while Republican policies have been a driving force for wealth creation by the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

It’s time to move forward  by emphasizing where the GOP and Trump are  not helping working families. Do this by proposing an aggressive agenda to raise the minimum wage, push for Green jobs and protect public health and safety and welfare from corporate greed.

If Congress won’t do this then work at the state and local level to push these issues and involve the public in building  support for voting the GOP out of Congress in 2 years and replacing them with Democrats who really are working to help the people of America.

It’s time to get to work!

Time to Change Electoral College Vote to National Popular Vote

For the second time in 20 years the winner of the national popular vote for US President  will not become the President.  Instead the winner of the Electoral College Vote will. Hillary Clinton has  1.42 million more votes nationally than Donald Trump. Donald Trump will however under the US Constitution  be elected President by Electors  assigned by 306 Electoral Votes for Trump and  232 for Hillary Clinton with Michigan still finalizing their results  as of this writing. A vote of 270 electoral votes is needed to win.
An alternative to the Electoral College is states passing the National Popular Vote law.

 The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide (i.e., all 50 states and the District of Columbia). Written Explanation  

States that have passed the National Popular Vote include California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The status of all the states can be seen by clicking on this link.  State Status
One national organization working to pass the National Popular Vote is Common Cause.

“If you’re upset that the Electoral College swung this election, then the National Popular Vote compact is the most effective and practical way to change our system for the better. Please add your name today to tell lawmakers in your state to sign onto the National Popular Vote compact.

Representative Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill in Congress to amend the US Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. This is a much more difficult process that requires 2/3 of the members of both Houses of Congress to vote for it and then 3/4 of the states to pass it. Considering that Republicans control both the US House and Senate and a majority of state legislatures around the country this approach is likely not going anywhere at the moment.

Interestingly President Elect Donald Trump  reaffirmed his support for abolishing the Electoral College on 60 minutes this week but the next day praised the Electoral College. As usual it seems he is all over the place and one has no idea what he thinks.

The most practical approach at this time is for people to work to pass the National Popular Vote bill to create an interstate compact that uses the national popular vote to decide the outcome of the election. Check out what is happening in your state and urge your state legislators to act.

Washington Chapter Sierra Club 2016 General Election Endorsements

The Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club has made the following endorsements for the 2016 General Election ballot on November 8, 2016.

President – Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine
US Senate – Patty Murray

US Representatives

  CD 1  Suzan DelBene
 CD 5  Joe Pakootas
 CD 6  Derek Kilmer
 CD  9  Adam Smith
CD 10  Denny Heck

Governor – Jay Inslee
Lieutenant Governor – Cyrus Habib
Attorney General – Bob Ferguson
Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz
Supreme Court Justice, Position #1 – Mary Yu
Supreme Court Justice, Position #5 – Barbara Madsen
Supreme Court Justice, Position #6 – Charles Wiggins

State Senate
State House
LD  1  Derek Stanford 
LD 1   Shelley Kloba 
LD 2  Amy Pivetta-Hoffman
LD 3  Marcus Riccelli                                                                                                                LD 3  Ormsby, Timm
LD 5  Darcy Burner
LD 10  Doris Brevoort
LD 11  Zack Hudgins
LD 11  Bergquist, Steve
LD 21  Strom Peterson
LD 21  Lillian Ortiz Self
LD 22  Laurie Dolan
LD 22 Beth Doglio
LD 23  Sherry Appleton
LD 23  Drew Hansen
LD 24  Mike Chapman
LD 24  Steve Tharinger
LD 25  Michelle Chatterton
LD 26  Larry Seaquist
LD 26 Randy Spitzer
LD 27  Laurie Jinkins
LD 27  Jake Fey
LD 28  Christine Kilduff
LD 28  Mari Leavitt
LD 29 Davis Sawyer
LD 29 Steve Kirby
LD 30  Mike Pellicciotti
LD 32  Cindy Ryu
LD 32  Ruth Kagi
LD 33  Tina Orwall
LD 33  Mia Gregerson
LD 34 Eileen Cody
LD 34  Joe Fitzgibbon
LD 35  Irene Bowling
LD 38  June Robinson
LD 38  Mike Sells
LD 39  Ronda Metcalf
LD 40  Kristine Lytton
LD 41  Tana Senn
LD 43  Frank Chopp
LD 43  Nicole Macri
LD 44  John Lovick
LD 45  Roger Goodman
LD 46  Gerry Pollet
LD 46  Jessyn Farrell
LD 47  Pat Sullivan
LD 48  Joan McBride
LD 49  Sharon Wylie
LD 49  Monica Stonier
LD 49  Alishia Topper
Clallam County Commissioner, District 2, Port Angeles – Ron Richards
Snohomish County Council – Hans Dunshee
Pierce County Executive – Rick Talbert
Pierce County Commissioner, District 2 – Carolyn Edmonds
Pierce County Commissioner, District 4 – Connie Ladenburg
Pierce County Commissioner, District 6 – Linda Farmer
Thurston County Commissioner, District 1 – Jim Cooper
Thurston County Commissioner, District 2 – Kelsey Hulse

 

Washington Conservation Voters 2016 General Election Endorsements for Legislature

The Washington Conservation Voters works to “elect environmentally responsible candidates” in Washington State. Below is their list of candidates for the Washington State Legislature they think will be leaders in protecting the environment. Additional statewide endorsements and ballot measures endorsements can be seen on their endorsement page.

Washington Conservation Voters     General Election Endorsements                     Washington State LEGISLATIVE RACES 2016

1st District
Senate: Guy Palumbo
House Position 1: Derek Stanford
House Position 2: Shelley Kloba
3rd District
Senate: Andy Billig
House Position 1: Marcus Riccelli
House Position 2: Timm Ormsby
5th District
Senate: Mark Mullet
House Position 1: Jason Ritchie
House Position 2: Darcy Burner
6th District
House Position 1: Lynnette Vehrs
10th District
Senate: Angie Homola
House Position 2: Doris Brevoort
11th District
Senate: Robert Hasegawa
House Position 1: Zachary Hudgins
House Position 2: Steven Bergquist
17th District
Senate: Tim Probst
House Position 1: Sam Kim
21st District
House Position 1: Strom Peterson
House Position 2: Lillian Ortiz-Self
22nd District
Senate: Sam Hunt
House Position 1: Laurie Dolan
House Position 2: Beth Doglio
23rd District
Senate: Christine Rolfes
House Position 1: Sherry Appleton
House Position 2: Drew Hansen
24th District
Senate: Kevin Van De Wege
House Position 1: Mike Chapman
House Position 2: Stephen Tharinger
25th District
House Position 2: Michelle Chatterton
26th District
House Position 1: Larry Seaquist
House Position 2: Randy Spitzer
27th District
Senate: Jeannie Darneille
House Position 1: Laurie Jinkins
House Position 2: Jacob Fey
28th District
Senate: Marisa Peloquin
House Position 1: Mari Leavitt
House Position 2: Christine Kilduff
29th District
House Position 1: David Sawyer
House Position 2: Steven Kirby
30th District
House Position 1: Michael Pellicciotti
House Position 2: Kristine Reeves
32nd District
House Position 1: Cindy Ryu
House Position 2: Ruth Kagi
33rd District
House Position 1: Tina Orwall
House Position 2: Mia Su-Ling Gregerson
34th District
House Position 1: Eileen Cody
House Position 2: Joseph Fitzgibbon
35th District
House Position 1: Irene Bowling
House Position 2: Craig Patti
36th District
Senate: Reuven Carlyle
House Position 1: Noel Frame
House Position 2: Gael Tarleton
37th District
House Position 1: Sharon Tomiko Santos
House Position 2: Eric Pettigrew
38th District
House Position 1: June Robinson
House Position 2: Michael Sells
40th District
Senate: Kevin Ranker
House Position 1: Kristine Lytton
House Position 2: Jeffrey Morris
41st District
House Position 1: Tana Senn
House Position 2: Judith Clibborn
42nd District
House Position 1: Sharlaine LaClair
43rd District
House Position 1: Nicole Macri
House Position 2: Frank Chopp
44th District
House Position 1: John Lovick
House Position 2: Katrina Ondracek
45th District
House Position 1: Roger Goodman
House Position 2: Lawrence Springer
46th District
House Position 1: Gerald Pollet
House Position 2: Jessyn Farrell
47th District
House Position 2: Patrick Sullivan
48th District
House Position 1: Patricia Kuderer
House Position 2: Joan McBride
49th District
Senate: Annette Cleveland
House Position 1: Sharon Wylie
House Position 2: Alishia Topper

Will Complacency and Progressives Let Trump Win the Presidency?

Michael Moore in his comments to Bill Maher at the Republican National Convention makes a strong point. Complacency by Democrats and independents who think Trump has no chance of winning and then not voting could tip the election to Trump.

Voter turnout has been going down in our elections as voters disengage. Progressives will contribute to this problem by not voting for Hillary and continuing to dwell on her negatively rather than looking at her pluses compared to Trump.

There is no way progressives win with a Trump victory. Progressives can put pressure on Hillary and Democrats in Congress if we take back the Senate and the House. Nothing will happen positively with a Trump win and Republicans holding both houses of Congress.

Some of us have lived through numerous Republican Administrations and seen the power of the presidency. And as President  Obama has shown the President does have the power to affect a lot of things despite not controlling Congress. including Supreme Court nominations and who gets appointed to run the Government and executive orders. But a President Trump combined with a Republican House and Senate would be a wipeout for Democratic programs and American society in general, reversing decades of progressive action.

We win by being involved, not by sitting on the sidelines and complaining or disengaging. Turnout for Protest votes like Brexit have consequences. Who turns out to vote can have tremendous impacts. Younger voters were expected to vote “remain” but voted in lower numbers than older voters.

The same impact of low voter turnout by particular groups supporting Democrats happened in the US in the 2014 Senate and Governor’s race resulting in the US Senate being taken over by the Republicans. As Sam Wang noted in his post in the American Prospect entitled “One reason the Democrats Lost So Big in Midterms:Exceptionally Low Voter Turnout”:

A larger question is why voter turnout hit a new post-World War II low. Compared with 2012, the number of votes cast dropped by about 42 percent. Democrats lacked a coherent message, de-emphasized their own policies in immigration and health care, and sidelined their highest-profile messenger, Barack Obama. Instead, issues such as Ebola and ISIS dominated the news. Relative media inattention to the election may have depressed turnout more than usual. These and other factors affecting turnout are inherently difficult for pollsters to anticipate. In 2014, the Midterm Curse, which this year afflicted both pollsters and Democrats, was in all likelihood caused by exceptional voter apathy.

Lower voter turnout by Democrats  this year could help Trump become President despite lagging in the polls. Some of the reasons for lower democratic voter turnout could include:

  • Lack of a strong motivating message by Democrats that Hillary will move forward strongly on addressing issues like income inequality, increasing job creation, opposing bad trade agreements, funding educational opportunities and expanding health care for all.
  • Progressives sit on the sidelines upset because Bernie Sanders was not nominated.
  • Progressives vote for a third party candidate like Jill Stein.
  • Democrats think there is no way someone like Trump can be elected and don’t bother to vote.
  • Young voters who supported Bernie Sanders become disenchanted and don’t vote.
  • Voter suppression efforts prevent enough Democratic voters from voting in key states
  • Progressives and others believe FOX News, Roger Ailes and other right wing media that Hillary is “evil” and don’t vote.
  • Progressives and others help spread the right wing message that Hillary is “evil” and cause others to not vote.
  • Conservatives continue to believe Trump represents the middle class rather than the 1% he really represents.

There can be other reasons also but the real challenge is convincing Democrats and independents that this election is a change election and that Hillary is the change agent. Put the blame for income inequality on Republican tax policy. Lowering taxes on the wealthy as Trump proposes will only make things worse.

Not raising the minimum wage means that more people may have jobs but can’t afford basic things like food and housing in the current economy. Trump and Pence oppose raising the minimum wage. Hillary has proposed significantly raising the minimum wage to $15/hr.

Trump and the Republicans oppose acting on climate change and support continued mining of coal for producing energy. Hillary proposes shifting to green jobs and renewable energy.

Hillary has proposed overturning Citizens United with a Constitutional Amendment to help get Big Money Out of Elections while Trump has been silent on this and Republicans oppose any changes.

These and other issues point to a clear difference in the direction the country would move under their Presidency. Hillary’s positions represent a significant change from the direction Trump wants to go and that Republicans have so far prevented us from going.  Elect Hillary and boot the Republicans out of Congress and the people of America can really move forward to a better American future for all, not just the 1%. That is real change!

WA 46th LD Democrats 2016 Endorsements

Endorsements by Washington State 46th Legislative District  Democrats for August 2, 2016 Primary

US Senator- Patty Murray
1st Congressional District Representative – Suzan Delbene
7th Congressional District Representative- Pramila Jayapal and Brady Piñero Walkinshaw
Governor- Jay Inslee
Lt. Governor- Cyrus Habib
Secretary of State- Tina Podlodowski
Attorney General- Bob Ferguson
State Auditor- Jeff Sprung
State Treasurer- Alec Fiskens
Superintendent of Public Instruction- Robin Fleming and Chris Reykdal
Insurance Commissioner- Mike Kreidler
Commissioner of Public Lands- Hilary Franz and Dave Upthegrove
46th State House Rep. Pos. 1- Gerry Pollet
46th State House Rep. Pos. 2- Jessyn Farrell
Washington State Supreme Court Justice Pos. 1- Mary Yu
Washington State Supreme Court Justice Pos. 6- Charlie Wiggins
King County District Court-West Division, Position 1- Lisa Paglisotti
King County District Court-West Division, Position 4- Gregg Hirakawa
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 14- Nicole Gianes Phelps
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 26- David Keenan
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 31- Helen Halpert
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 43- John McHale
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 44- Cathy Moore and Eric Newman
King County Superior Court Judge, Position 52- Anthony David Gipe
King County Superior Court Pos. 53- Mariane Spearmam
Initiative Measure #123 (Alaskan Way Park)- No recommendation
Proposition #1 (Housing Levy)- Approve

King County Democrats Endorsements 2016

Ballot Measures

  • Initiative 735: YES
  • Initiative 1515: NO/Decline to sign
  • Seattle Prop. 1 (Housing): YES

Candidates

Senate Republican Leadership Continues to Block Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports

Republicans who are in the majority in the US Senate and in the leadership continue to block electronic filing of Senate campaign finance reports required by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). US Senate candidates only file quarterly reports. Currently the US Senate reports are the only campaign finance reports on the Federal level not filed electronically with the FEC. They are first filed in paper copies with the US Senate, copied and then transferred to the FEC. This significantly delays by 2-3 weeks or more the public and media being able to get timely reporting of campaign contributions and spending.

Democrats joined by Republicans and Independents continue to try to get the US Senate to join the computer age and file copies electronically with the FEC.  Senator Jon Tester of Montana in February 2015  filed SB 366 – the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act. Some 45 Senators have signed on to date – 32 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 2 Independents.

This is not a new issue but Majority Rules wrote about this seven years ago, including “US Senators Still Trying to Figure out Computers and the Internet ” and “An Open Letter to Senator Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell“.  Senator Cantwell has since signed onto this legislation both in this Congressional session and the previous one. Senator Patty Murray for some reason has not. She should.

The Center for Public Integrity in a 2015 post entitled “Senators resist the internet, leave voters in the dark” noted that:

In a throwback to the age of typewriters and snail mail, Senate candidate must still, by law, submit their official campaign finance reports on paper.
A bipartisan bill — known as the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act — would force Senate candidates to file digitally, just as presidential candidates, U.S. House candidates and political action committees have done for nearly a generation.
Paper campaign finance records are more difficult to analyze and aren’t readily available to the public for days after being filed. Digital records are publicly accessible and easily searchable from the moment they’re submitted to FEC officials.

Some Senators have decided to voluntarily file electronically. In the same Center for Public Integrity post it was noted that 20 Senators were listed as also filing their second quarter 2015 reports digitally -16 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 2 Independents.

As GovTrack.us notes:

These reports are important because they list how much money candidates have raised and from which individuals/sources. This transparency in turn can help reveal potential conflicts of interest and indicate which issues an incumbent or potential politician may prioritize while in office. For example, on the presidential race, these numbers have revealed which candidates rely more on Super PACs versus individual donors, or which candidates billionaires have donated to.

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the bill would save approximately $500,000 per year through factors such as reduced printing costs.

If your Senator is not a supporter of SB 366 urge them to do so. The public has a right to campaign finance information in a timely manner. In fact while they are at it they really should be doing monthly reporting, not quarterly. Washington State has been doing monthly disclosure by candidates for years and it helps citizens see who is supporting candidates and where money is being spent.

More Democrats Vote In 2016 Washington State Presidential Primary Than Caucus

Washington State held a Presidential Primary on May 24, 2016. While Republicans used the Presidential Primary to determine the ratio of  their delegates for  specific  candidates, Democrats did not. The Democratic vote was purely a poll with no impact on the dividing up who got how many delegates. Democrats held an earlier caucus on Saturday March 26, 2016 to determine that.

The surprise was that more Democrats voted in the Presidential Primary than Republicans despite the Democratic vote not affecting the delegate count. According to the Washington State Secretary of State some 1,421,841 voters voted in the May 25, 2016 Presidential Primary. Of the 4,088.o29 registered voters at the time this represented a turnout of only 34.78%.

The results according to the Washington Secretary of State’s website were as follows:

Democratic vote:  Hillary Clinton ….. 421,461….. 52.38%                                                                               Bernie Sanders……382,393…..47.62%

Total Democratic vote …..802,753

Republican vote:  Ben Carson…………..23,849…….3.96%                                                                                 Ted Cruz………………65,172……10.81%                                                                               John Kasich………….58,954……9.78%                                                                                 Donald J Trump … 455,023…..75.46%

Total Republican vote ….602,998

The Democratic vote was 56.46% of the turnout and Republicans only represented 43.54% of the vote.

The actual division of delegates for the Democrats went through the caucus system where precinct delegates were elected in the following proportion at the March 26, 2016 caucus.  These results are as reported by the New York Times.

Bernie Sanders ……19,159 delegates = 72.7% = 74 delegates

Hillary Clinton ……..7,140 delegates = 27.1% = 27 delegates

other ………………………..46 delegates = .02%

The number of Democrats participating in the caucus was about 230,000 according to OPB . This was about 14,000 shy of the turnout for Democrats in 2008 when Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton ran.

Comparing the Democratic turnout in the Presidential Primary and the Caucus, the nonbinding Presidential Primary saw 3.9 times as many Democrats participate compared to the caucus.  Many voters found the caucus system frustrating and time consuming, particularly when Legislative District Caucuses were held on May 1, 2016 and went into late evening hours. Many people left in frustration and weren’t able to vote.

Some 27,000 Precinct level Delegates were narrowed down to 1400 Legislative District Delegates in the legislative District caucus. The Legislative District Delegates then elected 67 National Delegates at Congressional District Caucuses on May 21, 2016. The Washington State Democratic Central Committee on June 19th elected an additional 34 National Delegates and appointed 17 Super Delegates.  On July 28th in Philadelphia the 118 Washington State Delegates will vote to nominate the 2016 Democratic Party Candidate for President of the United States.

36th District Senator Reuven Carlyle after the Presidential Primary echoed the view of many when he called for an end to the Caucus system. Carlyle in the Tacoma News Tribune said:

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said Tuesday’s results highlighted how Washington Democrats’ system of holding both caucuses and primaries needs to go.
Awarding delegates to candidates based on primary results would be less confusing and expand the number of voters who could participate in the nomination process, he said.
“I just think caucuses have a romantic image and play a meaningful role in terms of activism and energy, but that a primary is more Democratic and reflective of the broader values of the population,” Carlyle said.

If you agree the system needs to be changed, contact people in the State Democratic Party. The Washington State Democratic Central Committee can vote to support a Presidential Primary rather than a Caucus system in 2020. Let them know now so the system can be changed.

The current Presidential Primary in Washington State became law in March of 1989 after the State Legislature passed Initiative 99. I-99 had 202,872 people sign.

Time for Automatic Voter Registration in Washington State

Washington State is now the laggard in automatic voter registration on the west coast. Oregon took the first step setting up automatic voter registration when voters apply for a driver’s license. And now California has followed suit.  Two east coast states have also passed automatic voter registration in 2016 – Vermont and West Virginia.

Just over a year ago on March 17, 2015 Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2177 making Oregon the first state in the nation to automatically register Oregon residents to also be voters when they either renew or first apply for an Oregon driver’s license or state identification card.

As the LA Times noted:

“Those who are registered through the new process will be notified by mail and will be given three weeks to take themselves off the voting rolls. If they do not opt out, the secretary of state’s office will mail them a ballot automatically 20 days before any election.”

NPR reported that Governor Gerry Brown in October 2015 signed their “New  Motor Voter Act” joining Oregon to register voters automatically when they either renew or get a new driver’s license or California state identification card.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a press release stated that:

“In a free society, the right to vote is fundamental. …

“Citizens should not be required to opt-in to their fundamental right to vote,” Padilla added. “We do not have to opt-in to other rights, such as free speech or due process. The right to vote should be no different,” Padilla added.

“The New Motor Voter Act will make voter registration a seamless process and result in the largest sustained voter registration drive in our nation’s history. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act, Governor Brown has affirmed California’s commitment to strengthening voting rights. It is not lost on me that many states are restricting voting rights with the clear goal of preventing citizens from voting. I am proud that California is again demonstrating leadership and providing a shining example of how our nation can and should expand access to the polls,” Padilla added.”

Two legislative bills were introduced in Washington State in 2016.  As reported by the HeraldNet:

Two measures, SB 6379 and HB 2682, would automatically register people who aren’t on the voter rolls but already have or apply for an enhanced driver’s license or commercial driver’s licenses. Those who receive social services that verify citizenship or get health insurance through the state health exchange also would be automatically registered. The measure would take effect Jan. 1, 2017, and be retroactive so that unregistered voters who already have the specialized driver licenses or benefits would have their information sent to the Secretary of State’s Office, which would notify them that they can opt out. If the potential voter doesn’t respond, he or she will be automatically registered within 60 days.

Unfortunately the Washington State Legislature did not enact this legislation. HB 2682  passed in the House but died in the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate is controlled by the Republicans who do not support legislation to make it easier for people to vote. SB 6379 did not get voted out of the Senate Committee it originated in.
Inaction on bills like this is a reason for people to vote Democratic. Republicans are not interested in increasing voter participation but have a nationwide track record of voter suppression making it difficult for many people to vote. It is unfortunately no different in Washington State.