Tag Archives: Voter Registration

Make Voter Registration Easier in Washington State

Action needed – Two bills currently before the Washington State Legislature will make it easier for voters to register to vote. They have both passed the House and have had a Hearing in the Senate State Government Committee but need citizen input now to get out of committee for a vote by the full Senate.  Please contact committee members and urge them to vote these bills out of committee. The deadline for bills that came from the other house to be voted out of committee is March 29, 2017.

HB 1468 – changes the deadline for voter registration from 29 days before the election to 11 days
HB 1513 – authorizes 16 and 17 years old to sign up to register to vote when they turn 18

Contact members of the Senate State Government Committee to vote these bills out of committee for a full Senate vote. Send an e-mail or call:

Mark Milosca – Chair    mark.miloscia@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Hans Zeiger   hans.zeiger@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7648
Sam Hunt   sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7642
Patty Kuderer   patty.kuderer@leg.wa.gov    1-360-786-7694
Kirk Pearson   kirkpearson@leg.wa.gov     1-360-786-7676

You can also call the toll free  legislative hotline 1-800-562-6000 and leave messages for all of them.

Additionally you can contact your own State Senator and urge her or him to contact Mark Miloscia and Committee members to act on these bills. They need to hear from us. Click on the bill links and click on “Comment on this Bill” and it  will send your message to your  legislators.

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Does King County Elections Know There is a November General Election?

Visiting the King County Elections home page today (Sept 11, 2010) or clicking on the current elections tab would give you no indication that there is a November 2, 2010 General Election. Both pages talk about the August 17, 2010 primary. The current elections page is highlighted by the words August 17, 2010 primary and special election. It seems King County Electionsis still stuck in August and before. They don’t list the upcoming election , candidates or ballot issues. Is everyone in King County Elections on Vacation? Have all the workers been furloughed?

On another page King County Elections has the following:

Have I registered in time for the next election?

Date of Election 29 day mail-in registration and address change deadline Eight-day registration deadline *

August 17, 2010 primary and special election Monday, July 19, 2010 Monday, Aug. 9, 2010 >

Nowhere do they give the information on what most of us would consider “the current election – the one coming up on Nov 2, 2010“. If they can’t keep their site updated then maybe they should have included the deadlines for both the Primary and General Election when they put information up, particularly if they are not going to update it in a timely fashion.

The major delay in posting actual candidates for the November election  falls to the certification date of the Primary Election which took place on Sept 1, 2010. This date is already long past. Another possible delay can take place in cities and counties submitting propositions for the November ballot. Snohomish County’s Election website has a page noting a 52 day prior to the election deadline for “resolutions”. That date is Sept 10, 2010. But King County makes no mention of this possible issue.

But is seems it serves the public best to post those races and issues like statewide initiatives and other measures that are not in doubt as soon as they are known and note that additional measures may be posted as they are certified for the ballot if this is an issue. This means that there should be a complete list of candidates and nearly complete list of issues on the November ballot available as of Sept 1, 2010.

Meanwhile the Washington Secretary of State’s website has already posted their November 2, 2010 General Election Voters Guide which lists all state issues and Federal, Congressional and legislative candidates. Obviously all candidates and most issues at this time are not in doubt as to being on the ballot.

The Washington Secretary of State’s website also give a clear explanation of the Deadlines for Registering to Vote and Changing Your Voting Address.  While they listed the Primary voter registration deadlines, they also include the current deadlines for the upcoming Nov 2, 2010 general election ballot.

They note that the standard deadline for online, and paper applications and updates is October 4, 2010. The late deadline for in person registration if not already registered in Washington State is October 25, 2010 for the November 2nd, 2010 election.

Is it possible for King County Elections to do a better job? Yes.  Look at Spokane County – they already have up an online general election voters guide that lists state measures, Congressional, legislative, and judicial races. Why can’t King County Elections?

Look at Thurston County Elections. They have up on their main page a prominent box that says how many days are left to register for the November Election. And they already have up a sample ballot for the November election. How is that they are able to do this but King County which represents about a third of the voters in the state is still stuck back in August?

Maybe it’s time for King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council to place a call over to King County Elections and see if anyone is there. If someone answers they need to ask if King County Elections is aware that there is a November election and that they should be keeping their website updated to provide current information to the voting public.

New Report: Modernizing Our Voter Registration System Could Eliminate Millions in Wasteful Spending

If there’s one lesson we all learned in the last few elections, it’s that their success or failure is dependent on the resources and skills of our local and state-level election officials.

The 2008 elections were commendable in many ways, for example, the 3.4 million more young voters who participated last fall than in 2004. But there are enormous obstacles and cost inefficiencies in our current voter registration system, and these inefficiencies cost taxpayers millions and make it harder for election officials to do their jobs.

WashPIRG’s new report, “Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy,”, shows that in only the 100 counties we surveyed over $33,467,910.00 of public money was spent on simple registration implementation and error-correction issues in 2008. The study was an average aggregate costs survey of small, mid-size, and large counties (in terms of population). For example, areas with average populations, like Grays Harbor County, spend around $250,000 on implementing our out-of-date registration system. In more population dense areas like Los Angeles County the delay in entering massive amounts of registration forms into the database system leads to an expense of over $56,000 in every major countywide election just to mail supplemental voter rosters to poll inspectors overnight. Even in counties with smaller cities, like Thurston County, implementation costs are estimated to be around the $1 million mark.

Election officials from coast to coast have similar stories of being forced to apply inefficient, expensive band-aids in order to effectively administer the registration system

If we modernized our system by creating a more streamlined and automatic system linking existing databases with the state voter rolls we could save significant resources at the local level. Election officials could use their budget for activities that promote our democracy, such as election education, as well as on more effectively administering Election Day.

“Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy” recommends implementing an automatic registration system federally, so that the majority of the cost burden currently facing election officials due to registration could be eliminated.

Breaking the Voter Registration Barrier

Something is still wrong in America when a democracy based on voting puts up multiple road blocks to people being able to vote. Republicans for many years have made strong efforts to suppress voter turnout and to disenfranchise voters as part of their election strategy.

It’s time for some changes to fulfill the promise of voting rights and make access easier and increase citizen participation in voting. As the New York Times notes in an article “Push to Expand Early Balloting and Voter Rolls in US” the time is ripe for needed action in this area.

“The single most important thing that Congress can do right now is create universal voter registration, which would mean that all eligible voters are automatically registered,” said Rosemary E. Rodriguez, the chairwoman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, which oversees voting. “We also saw incredible success with early voting, and requiring states to adopt it would help as well.”
Ms. Rodriguez said universal registration would reduce the dependence on third-party groups like
Acorn to sign up people and would remove the impetus for much of the pre-election litigation over who should be allowed to register.”

Senator Hilliary Rodham Clinton is mentioned as working on legislation to overhaul how voters register. Clinton is quoted as saying

A system of automatic registration, in which the government bears more of the responsibility for assembling accurate and secure lists of eligible voters, is a necessary reform,” ….. “All eligible Americans should be able to cast their ballot without barriers, and the registration problems we saw on Tuesday and during the weeks that preceded Election Day make clear that the system needs improvement.”

The Clinton plan

would require states to expand the voter registration databases that have already been created so that they include all eligible voters. To do this, states would draw information from tax records, driver’s license lists and social service agencies. The plan would also require states to update registrations whenever voters filed an address change with the Postal Service or other government agency, so the 14 percent or more of voters who move every year do not fall off the rolls.

On the issue of early voting the article notes that

“Congress is already discussing the adoption of early voting nationwide. It now exists in 32 states in various forms.

A bill to do so was drafted last year by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and its co-sponsors included Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois. The bill was tabled after receiving little support from Congressional Republicans but is likely to have a better chance next year when Democrats hold expanded majorities on Capitol Hill and Mr. Obama is president.

Early voting proved extraordinarily successful in providing people with more options to cast their ballot and in easing the strain of turnout on Election Day. It gave voters the chance to clarify their eligibility before Election Day, and it gave election officials more time to test and understand new machines and rules. ”

Both reforms are needed to fulfill the promise of American voting rights. Registration needs to be easier and be open to automatic updates when people move rather than requiring re-registration. Voting needs to be open to pre-election day voting.

In Washington State all but 2 counties (King and Pierce)vote by mail. But registration ceases however a month before the election. In person registration is possible up to 2 weeks before the election at county elections offices. But the state still should allow same day registration, allowing voters to change addresses or register to vote up to and including Election Day.

Voting needs to be made easier and more accessible. Reforms like this will help America keep its promise to its citizens that this is their county and that the government will make it a priority to ensure that people are not denied access to voting because of partisan politics or special interest influence.

Turdblossom’s Insider’s Guide to Swinging Elections

Here’s a lively thought provoking film produced by wakeupandsaveyourcountry.com called “Turdblossom’s Insider’s Guide to Swinging Elections“. Turdblossom of course is George Bush’s “affectionate” name for his long time buddy and political operative Karl Rove.

Wakeupandsaveyourcountry.com’s “mission, with this funny little film is to educate, activate and EMPOWER millions of voters around this country to put their bodies and hearts on the front lines of the election to protect their vote on November 4th. Share it with everyone you know and then check our website for what you can do to stop election “swinging”!”

It may be easy to shrug off all the various reports of voting machine fraud, voting machine errors and voter suppression but we do so at the peril of our democracy. Republicans are desperate to hold onto the White House and will use every trick they can to gain advantage. I frankly have no confidence in the previous two Presidential elections based on what I have read and heard about.

Make sure you are registered to vote and you meet the deadlines. The last day to register to vote in Washington State is October 4, 2008.

You can register to vote by going to the Secretary of State’s website and going to the voter registration page and checking out the information. You can check to see if you are registered to vote by going to the page entitled “My Vote

If you have moved within the same county you can change your address at the My Vote page

If you need to register for the first time, have moved to a different county or want to become a permanent absentee ballot voter, you can register to do this at the Online Voter Registration page.

Don’t assume you are still registerd to vote. The following remarks are by Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Jason Osgood and posted on Washblog. He expresses concern over the large number of voter registrations that have been cancelled in Washington State.

The incumbent Republican Secretary of State has publicly taken credit for cancelling 400,000 voter registrations. He’s being far too modest.
Between January 2006 and June 2008, the Republican has cancelled 900,000 voter registrations. For the same period, 500,000 new registrations have been added. That’s a net loss of 400,000 voter registrations.
It’s been very difficult to determine why all these voters have been cancelled. During our first debate, the incumbent brushes off criticism by saying these registrations were duplicates, people who’ve died, and felons. That accounts for 25% of the cancellations.
However, 75% of the cancellations have no explanation whatsoever. Not dead, not felons, not duplicate records.
I don’t understand this. Washington State continues to grow. We’re mounting record voter registration drives. And yet, we have fewer registered voters.
It seems to me the total number of voters should be going up, not down. “

Check today to see that you are still registered to vote. Go to My Vote.