Activists in the state of Washington are preparing for a new push to enact automatic voter registration in the state, either in the upcoming legislative session or through a ballot initiative next year.
The Columbian reports that if adopted, the state would automatically register voters who prove their eligibility when they interface with government offices, such as getting an enhanced driver’s license. Proponents of the automatic voter registration say it not only increases voter turnout and engagement, but also streamlines the process.
“The idea, from our perspective, is to make voting as easy as possible,” said Alice Perry Linker, a volunteer with an informal group of that’s supporting the effort. “It’s a right that all citizens have and we want to make it easy for them.”
Oregon and California both adopted laws in 2015 that automatically registered eligible citizens to vote when applying for driver’s licenses or identification cards. It’s still being implemented in California, but Oregon saw more than 250,000 people registered within nine months of the law going into effect.
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According to numbers from the Washington Secretary of State, the percentage of the voting age population that’s registered to vote has been on the decline. In 1972, 85.6 percent were registered. In 2016, that number was 76.8 percent.