Secretary of State Kim Wyman has suggested implementing new strategies to improve voter turnout in Washington.
“The objective here is to get everyone in Washington who is eligible registered and voting and all of these ideas will make significant strides toward that goal,” Wyman said in a statement.
The first is to move the date of the presidential primary from May to March.
Two measures — Senate Bill 5333 and House Bill 1469 — would schedule the primary for the second Tuesday in March every four years.
Wyman argues the change would result in more visits from presidential candidates and a better selection for voters to choose from.
“By the time Washington’s Primary Election rolled around in 2016, the two nominations had largely been decided — and yet 1.4 million people still participated,” Wyman said in a statement. “Imagine how many would have turned out if it were earlier. Moving the date up makes Washington a relevant battleground state again, and our voters would actually hear from candidates themselves instead of just their campaigns soliciting donations.”
The bills would also authorize Wyman’s office to include Washington in a regional, multi-state primary creating a “super Tuesday” for western states.
It would also restore the “unaffiliated ballot.”
“Unaffiliated ballots were last used in 2000 and since then, hundreds of thousands of independent voters have been required to declare a party affiliation if they wanted to participate,” Wyman said in a statement. “Many of them have simply chosen not to vote since then.”
Another of Wyman’s proposals is to create a “Future Voter” program allowing 16- and 17-year-old Washingtonians to enroll and be able to vote by their 18th birthday.
People who apply for an enhanced driver’s license or enhanced identification card would be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out.
Wyman has also suggested moving the state primary election from August to early June, requiring high schools to provide students with opportunities to enroll in the Future Voter program and extending the in-person voter registration deadline to election day.
“At least two studies of voter participation in Washington have linked low turnout to inconveniently placed primary dates,” Wyman said. “Not to mention all the national data that shows getting young adults interested in civics almost guarantees that they’ll become lifelong voters.”
Lewis County Public Facilities District Meeting Scheduled
By The Chronicle
The Lewis County Public Facilities District board has scheduled a regular meeting for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Chehalis.
Nine items of business will be on the agenda with a focus on a bond update, prioritizing bond usage and facility improvements.