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Voter registration bill unanimously passes in House, heads to Senate

OLYMPIA—With a unanimous 97-0 vote on Friday, February 9, the Washington State House of Representatives approved House Bill 1962 to improve the accuracy of voter registration lists, that if signed into law, would take effect on June 1, 2025. The bill now heads to the Senate for further deliberation.

Currently, if a county auditor receives a change of address information or a voter’s response to a confirmation notice indicating that the voter has moved out of the county but within the state, the county auditor cancels the registration or places the voter in an inactive status.

This bill requires the county auditor of previous county of residence to notify the auditor of the voter’s new county of residence. Upon receiving notice of the voter’s new address, the auditor of the voter’s new county of residence must update the voter’s registration and send the voter an acknowledgement notice.

Sam Low
Sam Low

“Accurate voter rolls are paramount to the integrity of our electoral process in Washington,” said Representative Sam Low (R-Lake Stevens), the bill’s primary sponsor. “Ensuring the state’s voter registration system is up-to-date and efficient is imperative for preserving the democratic rights of all Washingtonians and guaranteeing fair and transparent elections that reflect the true voice of the people. I want to express my gratitude to Washington’s auditors, Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, and my colleagues in the House for their support of House Bill 1962. It is my hope we can get it to the governor’s desk this year and further strengthen our commitment to democracy, ensuring every voice is heard and every vote counts in Washington state.”

House Bill 1962, which is backed by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs and auditors across Washington, would streamline the process for voters to update their registration when moving, eliminate outdated information, and ensure seamless transfers of information between counties.

“This legislation helps us maintain clean voter rolls and makes registration transfers from one county to another an easier process for voters who move,” Secretary Hobbs told the Lynnwood Times. “I am grateful for Representative Low’s leadership on this bill and for the support of the unanimous House.”

steve hobbs
Lynnwood Times and Everett Community College’s The Clipper meeting with Secretary of State Steve Hobbs (left) and Deputy Secretary of State Randy Bolerjack (center left) on April 25, 2023, talking about voter engagement and combating misinformation.

Co-sponsors to the bills are Representatives Greg Cheney (R-Battle Ground), Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), Mari Leavitt (D-University Place), Travis Couture (R-Allyn), Bill Ramos (D-Issaquah), Melanie Morgan (D-Tacoma) and Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way).

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Automatic address updates: Leveraging resources such as the Department of Licensing and postal services, the bill mandates automatic updates for voter addresses within the state, simplifying the process for individuals who relocate.
  • Proactive verification: The legislation implements confirmation notices and subsequent procedures to identify and remove inactive registrations, ensuring the maintenance of accurate voter rolls.
  • Seamless inter-county transfers: Streamlined protocols will facilitate the swift and accurate transfer of voter information when residents relocate between counties, minimizing disruptions and discrepancies.

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