April 14, 2023

STATEMENT: IRG Praises Washington for Upgrades to Automatic Voter Registration

For Immediate Release: April 14, 2023
Contact: press@responsivegoverning.org

OLYMPIA — Earlier today, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 5112, a bill that will update existing voter rolls and automatically register eligible individuals to vote through certain Department of Licensing (DOL) transactions. The House approved by a vote of 57 to 40 in early April, following Senate passage in February by a bipartisan vote of 38 to 10. The bill now heads to Governor Inslee’s desk for signature after today’s bipartisan concurrence vote in the Senate (33-13).

SB 5112 makes necessary upgrades to modernize the state’s existing voter registration infrastructure, including:

  • Implementing a secure automatic voter registration (SAVR) system to streamline automatic voter registration for eligible individuals applying for an enhanced state ID or driver’s license.
  • Streamlining the process to maintain clean, accurate and up-to-date voter rolls.

Sam Oliker-Friedland, executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government, issued the following statement:

“Congratulations to Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, along with the Washington Voting Justice Coalition and bill sponsors Senator Hunt and Representative Simmons, who collaborated across the rotunda and aisle to achieve a common goal of modernizing the state’s automatic voter registration system.

“By upgrading to SAVR, Washington is taking an important step toward secure, and accessible elections. These upgrades are critical for election administrators, who will benefit from the streamlined process and seamless data updates that will ensure clean voter rolls. This will save time and money for voters and County Auditors alike.

“This new system will also help ensure that individuals who were formerly incarcerated are automatically registered to vote, building on the voting rights work the Legislature accomplished in 2021. After Colorado upgraded to  SAVR, voter registration at the DMV nearly doubled. We’re excited to see similar advancements in Washington — by reducing the individual burden of giving the government information it already has, eligible voters will have a say in our democracy without the unnecessary red tape.

“This legislation is the gold standard for automatic voter registration and positions Washington as one of the most voter-friendly states in the country. To the tireless advocates and electeds who made this happen: well done!”

To speak with IRG subject matter experts about Washington upgrading to a Secure Automatic Voter Registration system, please contact press@responsivegoverning.org.


The Institute for Responsive Government is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to ensuring state and federal governments work effectively for the very people they serve. IRG provides data, research and expertise to elected officials in order to find practical policy solutions that make government systems more efficient, accessible, and responsive.