Status: HB 1294 has already passed the State House of Representatives and its companion bill SB 5140 is currently sitting in the State Senate awaiting action.
This bill is known as the:
The Young Voter Registration Equality Act
- THIS BILL WILL HELP REGISTER NEW VOTERS: In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act that required states to provide opportunities for voters to vote in federal elections. Washington implemented the Washington Motor Voter Act to comply with these new regulations. According to the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office, approximately 96,000 turn 18 each year. If these citizens were offered the opportunity to preregister to vote when they apply for their driver’s license then they would be eligible to vote immediately when they turn 18. If the voting registration process is made simple, then more people will be likely to vote.
- THIS BILL WILL NOT IMPOSE LARGE COSTS ON THE STATE: Although the State is currently looking to upgrade its voter registration management software systems, this specific bill will result in little additional direct cost to the State according to the bill’s fiscal notes. The total cost and implementation timetable of a new state-wide voter system in unknown at this time as the State is still in the planning stages of selecting a new system.
- WE CAN DO MORE TO INCREASE VOTER REGISTRATION AND PARTICIPATION: According to the US Census Bureau and the Washington State Secretary of State:
- In the 2012 Presidential election only 46.5% of the eligible voters in the 18-29 age range voted in Washington State.
- In the 2014 midterm elections only 72.9% of the voting population was registered to vote. 54% voted while just 39% of all people of voting age participated in the elections.
- The District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Rhode Island have already passed laws allowing 16 year olds to reregister to vote.