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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

After several years of effort, last year the Washington Legislature finally succeeded in upgrading to a Secure AVR system, which will make the state’s voter registration system more efficient and effective. As a top tier state, we expect more out of Washington, and this year it certainly delivered, and in doing so, it received an A on this year’s progress report for its improvements to the state’s automatic and online voter registration systems and its expansion of the state’s voting rights act.

Looking Back

Where Washington Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Partial AVR
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: 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 Washington as of 2022, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

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

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Legislature passed several significant pieces of pro-voter legislation during the 2023 session.

  • SB 5112 updates the existing automatic voter registration system to fully streamline registration for individuals with an enhanced driver’s license and expands automatic registration to additional state agencies beyond the DMV.
  • HB 1048 strengthens the “Washington Voting Rights Act” to ensure that communities of color have an equal opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.
  • SB 5208 increases opportunities to register using the state’s existing online voter registration system by allowing citizens without a driver’s license to register online by using the last four digits of their social security number or their learner’s permit number.