Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research

State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee

SB 5561

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: Allowing voter registration up to and on election day.

Sponsors: Senators Oemig, Fairley, Hobbs, Brown, Spanel, Franklin, Kline, Jacobsen and McAuliffe.

Brief Summary of Bill
  • Allows voter registration up to and on Election Day.

Hearing Date: 3/27/07

Staff: Colleen Kerr (786-7168).


State law requires that in order to vote at any primary, special, or general election a person must register at least 30 days before the election. There are special procedures for late registration, however, where an unregistered elector may register up to fifteen days before a primary, special, or general election by registering in person at the office of the county auditor of the county in which the elector resides, or by going to a voter registration location specifically designated for that purpose by either the county auditor or Secretary of State (Secretary) and applying for an absentee ballot.
Upon receiving a voter registration application, the Secretary and the county auditor are required to review the application. If the Secretary cannot match the applicant's license, identification, or social security number, then the Secretary or county auditor must correspond with the applicant to resolve the discrepancy. Similarly, if the application is not complete, the county auditor must correspond with the applicant to address the deficiency. In either instance, if the applicant fails to respond, the applicant may not be registered to vote.

Summary of Bill:

The late registration period ends on the day of the election. If a voter registration submitted during this late registration period is not complete or if the information cannot be matched by the Secretary, and the deficiency or discrepancy has not been resolved prior to certification, the ballot submitted by the late registrant must not be counted.

The Secretary is given specific authority to develop rules to address voter registration challenges filed against a person who registered to vote less than 14 days before the day of the election.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on March 23, 2007.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.