S-0829.1          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 5433



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senators Nelson, Madsen and Matson.


Read first time January 31, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Governmental Operations.Facilitating voter registration address verification.

     AN ACT Relating to voter registration verification procedures; and amending RCW 29.10.180.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 29.10.180 and 1989 c 261 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) The county auditor may contract with the Unites States postal service, or its licensee, for use of change-of-address information.  If a voter is found to have changed his or her residence address, the auditor shall send a notification to the voter.

     (2) Whenever any vote-by-mail ballot, notification to voters following reprecincting of the county, notification to voters of selection to serve on jury duty, notification under subsection (1) of this section, or initial voter identification card is returned by the postal service as undeliverable, the county auditor shall, in every instance, inquire into the validity of the registration of that voter.

     (((2))) (3) The county auditor shall initiate his or her inquiry by sending, by first-class mail, a written notice to the challenged voter at the address indicated on the voter's permanent registration record and to any other address at which the county auditor could reasonably expect mail to be received by the voter.  The county auditor shall not request any restriction on the forwarding of such notice by the postal service.  The notice shall contain the nature of the inquiry and provide a suitable form for reply.  The notice shall also contain a warning that the county auditor must receive a response within forty-five days from the date of mailing or the individual's voter registration will be canceled.

     (((3))) (4) The voter, in person or in writing, may state that the information on the permanent voter registration record is correct or may request a change in the address information on the permanent registration record no later than the forty-fifth day after the date of mailing the inquiry.

     (((4))) (5) Upon the timely receipt of a response signed by the voter, the county auditor shall consider the inquiry satisfied and will make any address corrections requested by the voter on the permanent registration record. The county auditor shall cancel the registration of a voter who fails to respond to the notice of inquiry within forty-five days after the date of mailing.

     (((5))) (6) The county auditor shall notify any voter whose registration has been canceled by sending, by first class mail, a written notice to the address indicated on the voter's permanent registration record and to any other address to which the original inquiry was sent.  Upon receipt of a satisfactory voter response, the auditor shall reinstate the voter.

     (((6))) (7) A voter whose registration has been canceled under this section and who offers to vote at the next ensuing election shall be issued a questioned ballot.  Upon receipt of such a questioned ballot the auditor shall investigate the circumstances surrounding the original cancellation.  If he or she determines that the cancellation was in error, the voter's registration shall be immediately reinstated, and the voter's questioned ballot shall be counted.  If the original cancellation was not in error, the voter shall be afforded the opportunity to reregister at his or her correct address, and the voter's questioned ballot shall not be counted.