S-0571.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5279



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Shin, Roach, Sheahan, Rasmussen, Patterson, Kline, Hochstatter, Regala and Kohl‑Welles


Read first time 01/17/2001.  Referred to Committee on State & Local Government.

Enhancing enforcement of citizenship requirements for voter registration.

    AN ACT Relating to enhanced enforcement of the citizenship requirement for voter registration; amending RCW 36.27.020, 29.07.005, 29.07.070, and 29.08.060; and prescribing penalties.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 36.27.020 and 1995 c 194 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:

    The prosecuting attorney shall:

    (1) Be legal adviser of the legislative authority, giving ((them [it])) it his or her written opinion when required by the legislative authority or the chairperson thereof touching any subject which the legislative authority may be called or required to act upon relating to the management of county affairs;

    (2) Be legal adviser to all county and precinct officers and school directors in all matters relating to their official business, and when required draw up all instruments of an official nature for the use of said officers;

    (3) Appear for and represent the state, county, and all school districts subject to the supervisory control and direction of the attorney general in all criminal and civil proceedings in which the state or the county or any school district in the county may be a party;

    (4) Prosecute all criminal and civil actions in which the state or the county may be a party, defend all suits brought against the state or the county, and prosecute actions upon forfeited recognizances and bonds and actions for the recovery of debts, fines, penalties, and forfeitures accruing to the state or the county;

    (5) Attend and appear before and give advice to the grand jury when cases are presented to it for consideration and draw all indictments when required by the grand jury;

    (6) Institute and prosecute proceedings before magistrates for the arrest of persons charged with or reasonably suspected of felonies when the prosecuting attorney has information that any such offense has been committed and the prosecuting attorney shall for that purpose attend when required by them if the prosecuting attorney is not then in attendance upon the superior court;

    (7) Carefully tax all cost bills in criminal cases and take care that no useless witness fees are taxed as part of the costs and that the officers authorized to execute process tax no other or greater fees than the fees allowed by law;

    (8) Receive all cost bills in criminal cases before district judges at the trial of which the prosecuting attorney was not present, before they are lodged with the legislative authority for payment, whereupon the prosecuting attorney may retax the same and the prosecuting attorney must do so if the legislative authority deems any bill exorbitant or improperly taxed;

    (9) Aggressively and without exception present all violations of the election laws ((which may)) that come to the prosecuting attorney's knowledge to the special consideration of the proper jury;

    (10) Examine once in each year the official bonds of all county and precinct officers and report to the legislative authority any defect in the bonds of any such officer;

    (11) Make an annual report to the governor as of the 31st of December of each year setting forth the amount and nature of business transacted by the prosecuting attorney in that year with such other statements and suggestions as the prosecuting attorney may deem useful;

    (12) Send to the state liquor control board at the end of each year a written report of all prosecutions brought under the state liquor laws in the county during the preceding year, showing in each case, the date of trial, name of accused, nature of charges, disposition of case, and the name of the judge presiding;

    (13) Seek to reform and improve the administration of criminal justice and stimulate efforts to remedy inadequacies or injustice in substantive or procedural law.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 29.07.005 and 1994 c 57 s 9 are each amended to read as follows:

    "Information required for voter registration" means the minimum information provided on a voter registration application that is required by the county auditor in order to place a voter registration applicant on the voter registration rolls.  This information includes the applicant's name, complete residence address, date of birth, citizenship, and a signature attesting to the truth of the information provided on the application.  All other information supplied is ancillary and not to be used as grounds for not registering an applicant to vote.


    Sec. 3.  RCW 29.07.070 and 1994 c 57 s 11 are each amended to read as follows:

    Except as provided under RCW 29.07.260, an applicant for voter registration shall complete an application providing the following information concerning his or her qualifications as a voter in this state:

    (1) The address of the last former registration of the applicant as a voter in the state;

    (2) The applicant's full name;

    (3) The applicant's date and place of birth;

    (4) The address of the applicant's residence for voting purposes;

    (5) The mailing address of the applicant if that address is not the same as the address in subsection (4) of this section;

    (6) The sex of the applicant;

    (7) A declaration that the applicant is a citizen of the United States; and

    (8) Any other information that the secretary of state determines is necessary to establish the identity of the applicant and prevent duplicate or fraudulent voter registrations.

    This information shall be recorded on a single registration form to be prescribed by the secretary of state.

    If the county auditor, registration assistant, city or town clerk, or deputy registrar has reason to believe the citizenship of an applicant is suspect, the auditor or other registration official may request further verification of citizenship, including but not limited to the applicant's birth certificate or documentation of naturalization.

    The secretary of state shall specify by rule the reasons sufficient to suspect that the applicant's declaration of citizenship is untrue and the documentation or procedure necessary to verify citizenship.

    If the applicant fails to provide the information required for voter registration, the auditor shall send the applicant a verification notice.  The auditor shall not register the applicant until the required information is provided.  If a verification notice is returned as undeliverable or the applicant fails to respond to the notice within forty-five days, the auditor shall not register the applicant to vote.

    The following warning shall appear in a conspicuous place on the voter registration form:


    "If you knowingly provide false information on this voter registration form or knowingly make a false declaration about your qualifications for voter registration you will have committed a class C felony that is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, or by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars, or both imprisonment and fine."


    Sec. 4.  RCW 29.08.060 and 1994 c 57 s 32 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) On receipt of an application for voter registration under this chapter, the county auditor shall review the application to determine whether the information supplied is complete.  An application that contains the applicant's name, complete valid residence address, date and place of birth, citizenship, and signature attesting to the truth of the information provided on the application is complete.  If it is not complete, the auditor shall promptly mail a verification notice of the deficiency to the applicant.  This verification notice shall require the applicant to provide the missing information.  If the verification notice is not returned by the applicant or is returned as undeliverable the auditor shall not place the name of the applicant on the county voter list.  If the applicant provides the required information, the applicant shall be registered to vote as of the date of mailing of the original voter registration application.

    (2) If the county auditor has reason to believe the citizenship of an applicant is suspect, the auditor may request further verification of citizenship, including but not limited to the applicant's birth certificate or documentation of naturalization.

    (3) If the information is complete, the applicant is considered to be registered to vote as of the date of mailing.  The auditor shall record the appropriate precinct identification, taxing district identification, and date of registration on the voter's record.  Within forty-five days after the receipt of an application but no later than seven days before the next primary, special election, or general election, the auditor shall send to the applicant, by first class mail, an acknowledgement notice identifying the registrant's precinct and containing such other information as may be required by the secretary of state.  The postal service shall be instructed not to forward a voter registration card to any other address and to return to the auditor any card which is not deliverable.  If the applicant has indicated that he or she is registered to vote in another county in Washington but has also provided an address within the auditor's county that is for voter registration purposes, the auditor shall send, on behalf of the registrant, a registration cancellation notice to the auditor of that other county and the auditor receiving the notice shall cancel the registrant's voter registration in that other county.  If the registrant has indicated on the form that he or she is registered to vote within the county but has provided a new address within the county that is for voter registration purposes, the auditor shall transfer the voter's registration.

    (((3))) (4) If an acknowledgement notice card is properly mailed as required by this section to the address listed by the voter as being the voter's mailing address and the notice is subsequently returned to the auditor by the postal service as being undeliverable to the voter at that address, the auditor shall promptly send the voter a confirmation notice.  The auditor shall place the voter's registration on inactive status pending a response from the voter to the confirmation notice.


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