Future Voter bill aims to improve young voter turnout

The bill was passed last month.

  • Wednesday, March 7, 2018 8:00am
  • News

Washington’s 16- and 17-year-old citizens are more likely to become lifelong voters due to the legislature’s passage of a bill to enact the Future Voter Program.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who proposed the Future Voter Program House Bill 1513, said she’s grateful to members of the Senate and House of Representatives who agreed on the policy she expects will increase participation in Washington state elections.

“We know that kids who get interested in civics at an early age tend to become active lifelong voters,” Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said in a press release. “The system doesn’t work if citizens don’t get involved and make their voices heard through the ballot.”

The bill requires high school social studies, civics and history teachers in Washington to coordinate voter registration events that coincide with Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, which falls annually around mid-January. Additionally, the Superintendent of Public Instruction must produce a program for teachers to use on Temperance and Good Citizenship Day.

As a protective measure, HB 1513 exempts all information provided by minors from the Public Records Act until they turn 18, and requires the Office of Secretary of State to obtain a copy of the applicant’s driver’s license or Identicard signature from the Department of Licensing. Future voters’ status will remain pending until it is determined that they will turn 18 before the next election.

Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.

More in News

Kenmore City Hall - Reporter file photo
Kenmore to consider plastic bag ban

Potential ordinance would encourage use of paper, resuable bags.

Sheriffs respond to stabbing in Bothell

A Bothell man stabbed a woman after an argument on June 16.

Seattle and King County officials want a safe injection van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New report calls for increased transparency from King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

A scene from the 2017 Women’s March Seattle. Photo by Richard Ha/Flickr
County sexual harassment policies could be overhauled

One King County councilmember says male-dominated departments have “workplace culture issues.”

Bothell plans transportation improvements

Projects include road widening and Safe Routes to School.

Western Washington could see more wildfires this year

Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.

Authorities target violent drug traffickers in series of Puget Sound busts

More than 80 “drug dealing conspirators” have been arrested over the past four months.

Seven Puget Sound residents are suing Sound Transit for $240 million. Photo by Atomic Taco/Wikipedia Commons
Sound Transit faces $240 million class-action lawsuit

An Auburn lawmaker has organized a suit that claims the new car tab taxes are unconstitutional.

Teen suicide prevention event in Bellevue educates parents

YES hosts suicide prevention event to equip parents with tools to support teens.

‘Businesses beware’

Misleading letter calls for annual registration renewals in attempts to fraud local businesses.

Some King County elected leaders want to spend $180 million on maintenance upkeep at Safeco Field in Seattle. Photo by HyunJae Park/Flickr
King County leaders want to allocate $180 million to Safeco Field

But once councilmember thinks funding for affordable housing and the arts should come before subsidizing stadium maintenance.