HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4029
State of Washington 57th Legislature 2002 Regular Session
By Representatives Romero, Schmidt, Ruderman, Ogden, Rockefeller, McIntire and Lysen
Read first time 02/11/2002. Referred to Committee on State Government.
TO THE HONORABLE GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, The Constitution of the United States has established a sacred American right to participate in the democratic process by voting in elections for state and federal representatives; and
WHEREAS, Within Amendment XV, the Constitution claims the original authority of protecting the right of all qualified citizens to vote in both state and federal elections; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has held that the Constitution preserves the power of the States to establish and maintain their own separate and independent election requirements, as long as they are consistent with the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, In the case of Oregon v. Mitchell, arising from the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the United States Supreme Court established a precedent for the division between state and federal jurisdiction over elections, deciding that States' usage of absentee ballots is legally binding; and
WHEREAS, Since 1993, the citizens of Washington State have relished and embraced the flexibility absentee and mail-in voting has provided them in their pursuit of consistently participating in our electoral process; and
WHEREAS, In the State of Washington more than 54 percent of voters in last November's election exercised their constitutional right to vote by using a mail-in or absentee ballot; and
WHEREAS, The majority of voters within our state find the convenience of absentee or mail-in ballots to be the most conducive to active participation in our democracy; and
WHEREAS, Senate Bill 565, pending in Congress, essentially outlaws the use of absentee and mail-in ballots and would harm the interests of many Washingtonians who rely on voting by mail; and
WHEREAS, Within our great democracy, it is vital that every American citizen be afforded the right to have their vote count, without having unnecessary restrictions being placed upon voting methods that are working, and working well, inside Washington State; and
WHEREAS, When our citizens' opportunity and accessibility to vote is traded for a solution to reform the accuracy of our system, another, more detrimental problem arises; and
WHEREAS, It is essential to foster participation within our celebrated democratic system and imperative that the legislation proposed to reform our electoral process does not constrain a citizen's right to vote;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that Congress continue its worthy endeavor of improving the accuracy of our electoral process without restricting our citizens' constitutional right to vote.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.
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