And another thing!

Clear. Bright. Lines.

Clear. Bright. Lines.

Did you know that there are 39 different elections system in Washington? Yep, it’s true. Each one of the 39 counties in Washington oversee their elections, and while some things are fairly uniform (mail-in voting, uh, except for Pierce County), many their activites are unique, say, for instance how voter registrations are processed.

The rules are standardized across the state, but it’s a matter of what resources each county auditor’s office has. That means that anytime there are unclear or difficult sections of state law, each county has to figure out how to deal with it individually. Not too fun.

One of the grey areas is felon voting rights restoration. The level of confusion on the part of felons, the general public, and the interpretation of law in general mean that county auditors spend a disproportionate amount of time processing restoration requests and answering questions. Too grey!

Luckily, there’s a good bill under consideration by the legislature at the moment that would address this: HB 1517. The basic idea? Clarify the rules, make it (as they say) a “clear, bright line.” The nut of the bill is that once you as a past offender are outside of the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, you are eligible to re-register to vote. That’s it. Simple.

Elections officials like it because it makes them more efficient. Good government types like it because it strengthens our democracy. Unfortunately, it’s currently stewing in a Senate committee, and unless it moves by March 30th, it’s going to die there.

If you want to make our state government more efficient and our democracy better, you can call the legislative hotline (1-800-562-6000) and tell your legislators that you want HB 1517 to come to the floor for a vote. It’s that easy.


1 Response to “And another thing!”

  1. March 19, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    House members took the courageous step of voting this bill out of the House. The Senate should join their colleagues on supporting the right to vote in Washington by passing HB1517 out of the Senate. This beauty of a bill will improve our election process by creating a bright line for election officials and by simplifying a complicated, costly, and ineffective process. It will also allow folks living in our communities working to get the lives together the right to vote.
    Don’t hold back, call Sen. Lisa Brown, Sen. Ed Murray, Sen. Tracey Eide and Sen. Marr. They need to hear from you. Tell them this bill is an important step in strengthening our democracy. 1-800-562-6000–Legislative Hotline: it’s free, fast and super duper easy.

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