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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Inslee Signs Voting Rights Act, Other Voting Bills Into Law

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law four bills aimed at expanding access to voting. They include a new state Voting Rights Act.

At a bill signing ceremony in Tukwila, Inslee called it a historic day. And the Democrat contrasted Washington to states that have passed voter ID laws. ??

“In 20 other states, there have been venal, evil efforts to suppress voters, to suppress the ability of people to get to the ballot box,” Inslee said. “I’m proud in our state we’re making it easier to vote, not harder. That’s what Washington state is about.” ??

Besides the Voting Rights Act, Inslee signed into law a measure that will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Another bill allows for same-day voter registration. The fourth measure lets automatic registration for people getting state ID cards or enhanced driver’s licenses.

Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman praised the new voting laws as “a positive step forward” for Washington elections.

Inslee also signed in law the DISCLOSE act designed to shed light on so-called “dark money” in state politics. 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."