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Grade TL;DR

Washington State passed historic pro-voter legislation in 2021 restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals for felony conviction, and 2022 also saw some minor pro-voter reforms in the state. However, the Legislature failed to pass legislation to make critical upgrades to their voter registration system and failed to secure equitable ballot access for communities of color into law. As a top tier state, we expect more out of Washington, which is why it received a B on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Washington Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Front-End
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Parole Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Full Vote by Mail
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Vermont as of 2020, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other top tier states.


  • COVI (2020): 2nd
  • EPI Score (2020): 12th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 10/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): HIGH

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

During the 2021 session, the Washington Legislature was finally able to pass important legislation that restores the right to vote for thousands of Washington residents.

  • H 1078 automatically restores the right to vote for anyone formerly incarcerated for a felony conviction. Individuals under “community custody” will no longer have to wait to complete probation before they can register and vote.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Washington Legislature only made a few minor updates to election laws in 2022.

  • H 1953 protects a voter’s signature, phone number, and email address from public
  • Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass two major pieces of pro-voter legislation
    during the session.

    • SB 5636, which would have updated the existing automatic voter registration system to make it more secure,
      efficient, and effective at registering voters. Although it passed the policy committee, the Senate failed to
      bring it to the floor for a vote.
    • SB 5597, which would have strengthened the “Washington Voting Rights Act” to ensure that communities of color
      have an equal opportunity to elect a representative of their choice. It passed the Senate, but the House failed
      to bring it to the floor for a vote.