House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
State Government, Elections & Information Technology Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning the collection of youth voter registration sign up information.
Sponsors: House Committee on Transportation (originally sponsored by Representatives Bergquist, Stambaugh, Frame, Hudgins, Sawyer, Slatter, Macri, Gregerson, Peterson, McBride, Doglio, Appleton, Fitzgibbon, Goodman, Tharinger, Farrell, Pollet, Ormsby, Dolan and Riccelli).
Hearing Date: 1/10/18
Staff: Desiree Omli (786-7105).
A person may vote if they are a United States citizen, lived at their address for at least 30 days prior to the election, be at least 18 years old, not under the Department of Corrections supervision for a felony conviction, and not disqualified to vote due to a court order. It is a class C felony for a person to register to vote if the person knows that they do not meet the qualifications of a voter.
Upon registering to vote, the applicant must confirm that he or she is a United States citizen and is at least 18 years old or will be by the next election. Voters may register electronically, by mail, or in person at certain locations. To register electronically, a person must have a valid state driver's license or state identification card and agree to use their license or identification card signature for voter registration purposes.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires state agencies to provide voter registration services to their customers. Through the Motor Voter Act, the Department of Licensing (DOL) is required to provide voter registration services. In addition to the DOL, the Governor, in consultation with the Secretary of State (Secretary), must designate state agencies to provide voter registration services. Additional agencies offering voter registration services are the: Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Department of Health (DOH), Health Care Authority (HCA), Health Benefits Exchange (HBE), and Department of Services for the Blind (DSB). In addition, each institution of higher education is required to place an active prompt on its course registration website, or similar, that will allow students to select a link that directs them to the Secretary's voter registration website. State agencies offering registration services must ask its customers if they want to register to vote or update voter registration information.
A challenge to a person's right to vote must be based on personal knowledge of certain information, including that a voter will not be 18 years old by the next election.
Temperance and Good Citizenship Day.
On January 16, or the preceding Friday if January 16 falls on a nonschool day, each public school observes Temperance and Good Citizenship Day. The Superintendent of Public Instruction (Superintendent) must annually produce a program for teachers to use on Temperance and Good Citizenship Day.
Voter Registration Database, the Public Records Act, and Jury List.
Under the public records act, each agency must make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls under an exception. The Secretary must maintain a statewide voter registration database, and, for each county, the county auditor must maintain custody of the original voter registration records. Subject to certain restrictions, either the county auditor or the Secretary must make available for public inspection and copying the precinct lists and lists of registered voters. The only information in voter registration records available for inspection and copying include the: voter's name, address, political jurisdiction, gender, date of birth, voting record, date of registration, and registration number.
The Secretary must provide a copy of the master statewide voter registration file to the Consolidated Technology Services agency for the purpose of creating a jury source list.
Summary of Bill:
A person may sign up to register to vote in person at a designated agency, electronically, or by mail upon his or her sixteenth birthday. A person that "signs up" to register to vote provides information needed for voter registration, but is not added to the statewide voter registration database until they are 18 years old, or will be 18 years old before the next election. Such person's registration status will be "pending" until the person turns 18 years old. State agencies that offer voter registration services must ask its customers if they want to sign up to register to vote, and offer voter registration sign-up services.
An applicant for voter registration, and those signing up to register, must acknowledge that they must be 18 years old to vote. A challenge to a person's right to vote must be based on personal knowledge that the challenged voter is not 18 years old. A person who meets the qualifications to sign up to register to vote, and does so, is not guilty of a Class C felony.
The Secretary may employ additional security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of voter pre-registration applications submitted electronically.
Temperance and Good Citizenship Day:
On the annual Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, social studies teachers must coordinate a voter registration event in each history or social studies class attended by high school seniors. As resources allow, county auditors may help coordinate and participate in these voter registration events. Each event must encourage students who will be at least 18 years old by the next general election to register to vote online or by mail from the classroom. Teachers must make voter sign-up and registration available to all students.
The Superintendent, in consultation with the Secretary, must update and distribute youth voter registration materials by December 1 each year, and electronically notify high school principals and secondary social studies and history teachers that the materials are available. The Superintendent must consult with the Secretary to provide registration methods that enable the electronic collection of information on the number of students who register at the registration event, with the goal of achieving at least 50,000 new voter registrations for 17- and 18-year-olds annually. Beginning on March 1, 2019, The Superintendent must report on yearly progress toward this goal, and provide recommendations for increasing youth voter registration, to the Governor and Legislature.
Voter Registration Database, the Public Records Act, and Jury List.
The county auditor must maintain custody of the original voter sign-up records for registration. The Secretary must store the pending registration records for persons who sign up to register to vote and must ensure that the records will not appear on the official list of registered voters until the applicant is eligible to vote. The information contained in voter sign-up records is exempt from public inspection and copying, and from inclusion on the jury source list.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 8, 2018.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.