NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 19th, 2018

VICTORY! Washington Voting Rights Act wins approval in the state Senate for the first time

The Unit­ed States Sen­ate may be wracked by dys­func­tion and dis­agree­ment — espe­cial­ly this week — but here in Wash­ing­ton, our State Sen­ate is on a roll, work­ing dili­gent­ly to advance the good of all the peo­ple under its new Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty. After hav­ing passed the DISCLOSE Act, same-day vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, and the cap­i­tal bud­get ear­li­er this week, our Sen­ate today vot­ed for the first time to adopt the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Rights Act (ESSB 6002), lib­er­at­ing a bill that had been stuck in the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans’ grave­yard of progress for years.

“This bill is a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in our ongo­ing effort to expand access to democ­ra­cy in Wash­ing­ton­ian, and estab­lish a tru­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment,” said Sen­a­tor Rebec­ca Sal­daña (D‑37th Dis­trict: Seattle).

“We saw a dra­mat­ic change in rep­re­sen­ta­tion in cities like Yaki­ma and Pas­co after they imple­ment­ed dis­trict-based elec­tions. Wash­ing­ton needs a vot­ing rights act so that every local juris­dic­tion has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do this, and so that impact­ed com­mu­ni­ties can tru­ly have a voice that counts.”

“Vot­ing is a right, not a priv­i­lege,” agreed Sen­a­tor Sam Hunt (D‑22nd District).

“We don’t need bar­ri­ers to vot­ing, we need path­ways. It is our most basic duty to make our democ­ra­cy acces­si­ble to every sin­gle eli­gi­ble vot­er. We won’t suc­ceed by just by increas­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for vot­ing. We must also increase trans­paren­cy in our elec­tions by shin­ing a light on hid­den mon­ey. This pack­age accom­plish­es those goals. Access to democ­ra­cy is essen­tial in hav­ing a strong government.”

“After years of hard work by com­mit­ted com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and leg­is­la­tors, today the Wash­ing­ton Sen­ate passed the Vot­ing Rights Act,” said Rich Stolz, Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of OneAm­er­i­ca Votes. “This is a tremen­dous vic­to­ry for com­mu­ni­ties of col­or striv­ing for greater rep­re­sen­ta­tion across our state, made pos­si­ble by com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who cam­paigned to elect Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra in the 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict.  Today, Dinghra is one of two women of col­or in the State Sen­ate.  The oth­er, Sen­a­tor Rebec­ca Sal­dana (LD37), spon­sored this legislation.”

“The Sen­ate’s action today stands in stark con­trast to the the­atrics and threat­en­ing rhetoric ema­nat­ing from the White House. Wash­ing­ton State is set­ting its own path toward greater equi­ty, rep­re­sen­ta­tion and a stronger democracy.”

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
ESSB 6002
Vot­ing rights act
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 29; Nays: 19; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Car­lyle, Chase, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Dhin­gra, Fain, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Hunt, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, McCoy, Milos­cia, Mul­let, Nel­son, Palum­bo, Ped­er­sen, Ranker, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Shel­don, Takko, Van De Wege, Wellman

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Angel, Bai­ley, Beck­er, Braun, Brown, Erick­sen, For­tu­na­to, Hon­ey­ford, King, O‘Ban, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Wag­oner, Walsh, War­nick, Wil­son, Zeiger

Excused: Sen­a­tor Baumgartner

Four Repub­li­cans crossed over to sup­port the Vot­ing Rights Act: Joe Fain, Brad Hawkins, Mark Milos­cia, and Tim Shel­don. Sen­a­tor Baum­gart­ner did not vote on final pas­sage. The remain­ing eigh­teen Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay, while the entire Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus was uni­fied in sup­port of the legislation.

Pas­sage of the Vot­ing Rights Act is one of NPI’s leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties for 2018. We’re thrilled to see today’s action on the floor of the Sen­ate. The approval of the WVRA is fan­tas­tic news for the peo­ple of the State of Washington.

ESSB 6002 now goes to the House, which has pre­vi­ous­ly vot­ed sev­er­al times to pass pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Rights Act.

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One Comment

  1. At least one state in our coun­try is try­ing to advance vot­ing rights.

    # by Vickie Amar :: February 14th, 2018 at 11:18 AM
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