WSR 08-05-056




[ July 4, 2007 ]


Voter Registration Assistance

WHEREAS, Washington began offering voter registration services through the state Department of Licensing in 1992;

WHEREAS, the United States Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requiring states to, among other things, offer voter registration opportunities at state offices that provide public assistance and state offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in serving persons with disabilities;

WHEREAS, the Washington State legislature subsequently enacted statutes designed to implement the public agency provisions of the NVRA which are codified at RCW 29A.08.310 through RCW 29A.08.360; and

WHEREAS, the right to vote is fundamental, and it is a primary duty of government to make the opportunity to register and assistance with registering to vote available to all eligible citizens.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christine O. Gregoire, Governor of the state of Washington, designate the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) as a voter registration assistance agency as required by the NVRA and state law. I further direct DSHS to coordinate voter registration assistance activities in the following manner:

1. Appoint a Voter Registration Assistance Officer who will monitor and be responsible for efficient and appropriate compliance with state and federal voter registration assistance laws;
2. Analyze how best to use technology to efficiently and effectively provide voter registration assistance for in-person services as well as tele-centers and web portals; and
3. Cooperate with the Secretary of State's Office to ensure that DSHS delivers voter registration assistance services in a manner that allows the Secretary of State to carry out the Secretary's voter registration responsibilities efficiently.

Nothing in the implementation of this Executive Order shall be interpreted to allow a state agency, state office, or agency employee to:

1. Attempt to influence an applicant's political preference or registration;
2. Display any such political preference or allegiance;
3. Make any statement that would discourage an applicant from registering to vote; or
4. Make any statement or take any action that would lead an applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register to vote has any bearing on the availability or amount of services or assistance provided;

I further strongly encourage all state agencies to:

1. Provide on their web sites a link to the Secretary of State's voter registration web site; and
2. Further consider and implement other means by which the agency can promote voter registration.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington, on this 4th day of July 2007, at Olympia, Washington.
Christine O. Gregoire
Sam Reed
Secretary of State

Washington State Code Reviser's Office