Editor’s Note: The following letter, signed by over sixty organizations, was sent to members of the Washington State House of Representatives in support of NPI’s legislation to make it easier to vote in Washington State by replacing “advisory votes” (which are really anti-tax messages) with truthful, useful fiscal information.
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to you in support of Senate Bill 5082, Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen’s legislation to eliminate statewide “advisory votes” and replace them with truthful, accurate information about the Legislature’s fiscal decisions.
In Washington, we believe that voting should be simple and that widespread participation matters. It’s why we have prioritized making voting easier with laws providing for prepaid postage on ballot return envelopes, expanded drop boxes, same day and automatic voter registration.
This year let’s continue that important work by passing Senate Bill 5082.
The key principles guiding this legislation are as follows:
- The ballot is sacred and should be free of propaganda. It’s where we make real change in our communities; it’s not an appropriate place for any sort of opinion polling.
- Voting should be straightforward, but “advisory votes” make voting more confusing and frustrating, especially for new voters.
- Voters’ time and our tax dollars are precious, and should not be wasted.
- We need real tools for making the Legislature’s work more transparent.
The continued presence of “advisory votes” undermines all of our hard work to make voting more inclusive, and makes our voters feel more disconnected and cynical when they open their ballots.
Having to navigate “advisory votes” also needlessly worsens the voting experience of young voters and new voters who have immigrated to the United States and for whom English is not their first language.
Importantly, Senate Bill 5082 doesn’t just get rid of “advisory votes”. It replaces them with a continuously updated website offering truthful, useful information about the state’s finances, prepared by LEAP and OFM staff. This website will be advertised in the voter’s pamphlet with a quick response (QR) code, URL, and telephone number.
We ask you to prioritize Senate Bill 5082 for floor action this year and support it with your vote so that we can make voting more straightforward and equitable, reduce voter fatigue, and ensure everything on our ballot has meaning.
Thank you for your service to the people of the State of Washington.
AARP Washington State
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Yakima
Balance Our Tax Code
Cambodian Women Networking Association
Code Blue Washington
Economic Opportunity Institute
Faith Action Network
Fix Democracy First
Good Nature Publishing
Insight Strategic Partners
Latino Community Fund
League of Minority Voters
League of Women Voters of Washington
MomsRising & MamásConPoder
More Equitable Democracy
National Association for Social Workers WA
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
Nonprofit Association of Washington
Northwest Community Bail Fund
Northwest Progressive Institute
Pacific Islander Health Board
Progreso: Latino Progress
Public School Employees of Washington (PSE)
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
Tacoma Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Tacoma Ministerial Alliance
Tacoma Urban League
The Nature Conservancy — Washington Chapter
The Washington Bus
Thurston-Lewis-Mason Counties Central Labor Council
Transit Riders Union
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
Washington Community Alliance
Washington Conservation Action
Washington Education Association
Washington Federation of State Employees
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington State Budget and Policy Center
Washington State Democratic Party
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Washington Student Association
Washington Voting Justice Coalition