Kuderer proposal for same day voter registration heard in Senate committee

New 48th District Sen. Patty Kuderer introduced her first Senate Bill, 5192, on Wednesday in Olympia. The bill was heard in the Senate State Government Committee.

The bill proposes to allow voters the opportunity to register in person up until 5 p.m. on the day of a primary, special or general election. The bill would also update the online and mail in registration deadline from 29 days prior to an election day to eight days prior.

“We need to make sure that all eligible voters have a real opportunity to participate in our democracy,” said Kuderer. “This bill helps remove barriers to voting and allows people the flexibility to register when it works best with their schedule. For many, that may be on election day.”

Currently, 15 states across the country and the District of Columbia have adopted same day voter registration laws. Another state, Hawaii, is phasing it in. Research shows that allowing same day voter registration on election day does not favor a political party and greatly increases the rate of voter turnout, sometimes by as much as 10 percent.

In the 2016 presidential general election, the top five states with the highest percentage of voter turnout were states that have all implemented same day voter registration laws.

“We have an opportunity to engage more people in an inclusive democratic process by allowing same day voter registration,” Kuderer said.

The bill will need to move out of committee ahead of the first major legislative cutoff on Feb.17 to continue to move forward.