Native American Voting Rights Act Passes Washington State Senate

As the only enrolled tribal member elected to the Washington State Senate, I realize there is still much work to be done to ensure that the indigenous community can fully participate in the democratic process.” Sen. John McCoy, D- Tulalip

February 6th, 2019 Olympia, WA – Lawmakers in the Washington State Senate approved a proposal that would remove barriers to registering to vote and casting ballots on reservations.

SB 5079, the Native American voting rights act of Washington would allow the residential address portion of a voter registration form to be filled out with a nontraditional address. Further, it would require county officials to establish a voter drop-box on a Tribal reservation, if requested by the tribe.

Further, SB 5079 would allow tribal citizens to use tribal identification cards to register to vote, and to register using non-traditional addresses.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen John McCoy (Tulalip), states, “Voter participation is not a partisan issue; it is the foundation of our democratic system and must be protected by all sides. Democrats and Republicans should be able to work together to ensure that our electoral system works in the interest of all Americans.

Our democracy works best when we all have the opportunity to participate. When entire communities are denied access to the ballot box; lawmakers need to take a look at systemic issues that need to be addressed.”

The measure passed on a 34-13 and now heads to the House where its companion bill HB 1339 is scheduled to be heard in committee on February 13th 2019.

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