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Trump meets with Martin Luther King III on Monday to discuss voting rights
01/16/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, January 16, 2017 - 17:00
Excerpt: 

The private session at Trump Tower with civil rights advocates, on the same day the nation is honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, represented a mix of symbolism and substance. King III has campaigned for years to establish a form of free government photo identification that could make it easier for Americans who lack a driver’s license or other official ID to cast ballots. He and the other attendees, including the Rev. James A. Forbes, have urged Trump to endorse the idea of making such identification free. ...

According to one of the meeting’s participants, who asked for anonymity to discuss a private conversation, Trump expressed a serious interest in making photos available on Social Security cards and said he would study the issue in further detail. ...

Proponents of the voter card emphasize that it will be voluntary, rather than universal, and said it represents a rational response to the fact that voter ID laws are poised to proliferate given Republicans’ recent gains on the state and federal level.

“We’re going to end up with more and more voter ID laws,” said American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein. “And that’s a reality, and the question pragmatically is, what is the best way to deal with it?”

Ornstein noted that looking at minority turnout in the 2016 presidential election results, “It was down more in states with strict laws than in states without it."

Martin Luther King III: Trump agrees the voting system is broken. Here’s how he can fix it.
01/14/17 |
Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 14, 2017 - 01:00
Excerpt: 

[W]e can agree that every citizen should have the unfettered opportunity to vote. Indeed, my concern is not how people vote, but simply that they vote. ...

Fortunately, President-elect Trump agrees. Throughout the campaign, he consistently reminded the electorate that the system is broken.

Even more fortunately, it is indisputable that nonpartisan, common-sense solutions are available. In 2014, as the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton endorsed my friend Andrew Young’s proposal that all citizens be able to obtain a photo ID card that would meet the voting requirements in every state. Following the event, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly voiced his support for the plan, saying they were “doing the country a service” and declaring, “Let’s get the pictures on the Social Security card, stop the nonsense and be a responsible country.” As Young has said, “The challenge with voter ID laws isn’t the requirement to show ID, it’s that so many people lack ID. That is the problem that needs to be fixed — and not just for voting. In today’s world, you can’t open a bank account without a photo ID — and the only people happy about that are check cashers.” ...

[A]t the end of the day, the right to vote is not a Republican right or a Democratic right — it is an American right. If Trump enables more Americans to exercise that right in future elections, he will be able to say that in no small measure he really did make America great again.
 

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Washington Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 10, 2016

For more information, visit the Washington My Vote website

Election Day: Ballots are sent via mail to voters beginning October 21, 2016. Completed ballots must be postmarked for return no later than Election Day or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

In addition, each county voting center is open during business hours beginning October 21, 2016, and ends at 8:00 p.m. on the day of the election.

How to Find Your Polling Place:

All counties in Washington State votes by mail.  Your ballot is mailed to you at least 18 days before each election. Your ballot packet will include a ballot, a secrecy envelope, and a return envelope. Follow the instructions that accompany your ballot. If you are a registered voter and do not receive your ballot, contact your county elections department

In addition, each county opens a voting center prior to each election. Each voting center is open during business hours beginning October 21, 2016, and ends at 8:00 p.m. on the day of the election.

You can locate your nearest voting center by logging into MyVote.wa.gov or contacting your county’s elections department.

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines:

The deadline to register to vote by mail or online is October 10, 2016.  If postmarked by the deadline, the registration is considered timely, but be aware that October 10, 2016 is Columbus Day, a federal holiday.  If you are filing a new registration, you may do so in person at your county auditor’s office by October 31, 2016.  Important note: Military and overseas voters are exempt from the voter registration deadline, but they must provide their last Washington state residential address when they request a ballot

How to Check Your Registration: Visit the Washington My Vote website or call 866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: To register to vote, you MUST be:

  • A United States citizen;
  • A resident of Washington;
  • 18 years of age or older on Election Day;
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order; and
  • Not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction.

How to Register:

Online

Individuals may register to vote online in Washington.  The Online Voter Registration Form asks for your Washington State driver’s license or a current Washington State identification card.

In Person

You may find a voter registration application at any county elections office or DMV office and other state agencies. If you register at the DMV or other location, retain proof of your voter registration application in case your application is not properly transmitted to the Secretary of State.

By Mail

Voter registration forms are also available by mail. Applicants may visit the Washington Secretary of State website to receive a voter registration form. Applicants may also contact their county elections office to receive a voter registration form.  

Identification Required for Registration:

When you register, you must provide your Washington state driver’s license, permit, or ID, or the last 4 digits of your social security number.  If you vote in person, you will need to sign a ballot declaration and your signature will be compared to your registration signature. Otherwise, you will need to provide valid photo ID, such as a driver's license, state identification card, student identification card, tribal identification card, or employer identification card.

Some counties also accept ID as follows:

  • Copy of a current utility bill
  • Current bank statement
  • Copy of a current government check
  • Copy of a current paycheck

A government document that shows both your name and address

If You Want to Vote Early or Absentee

Voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, but may also vote at the early voting center.  However, if election records indicate that the voter has already voted the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter will be given a provisional ballot, which will be counted if the vote-by-mail regular ballot was not received.

Turning in your Absentee (Vote-by-mail) ballot

Your ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you fail to sign the ballot declaration, or the signature on the ballot declaration does not match the signature in your voter registration record, you county elections department will contact you. If you are unable to sign the declaration, make a mark in front of two witnesses and have them sign in the designated spaces.

You can check the status of your ballot by logging into MyVote and clicking on "Ballot Status".

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

If you vote in person, you will need to sign a ballot declaration and your signature will be compared to your registration signature. Otherwise, you will need to provide valid photo ID. Valid forms include:

  • Washington driver's license,
  • State identification card,
  • Student identification card,
  • Tribal identification card, or
  • Employer identification card.

Some counties also accept other forms of ID, such as:

  • Copy of a current utility bill,
  • Current bank statement, or
  • Copy of a current paycheck.

If you do not have one of these forms of ID, then your vote will be by provisional ballot. If voters are shown as not registered or their right to vote is otherwise challenged, they may still vote by provisional ballot.

VoteRiders has created Washington voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same County

The voter should update his or her address 29 days before Election Day or earlier with the Secretary of State or the county auditor. The update may be done by (1) sending the county auditor a request stating both the voter’s previous and present address; (2) appearing in person before the county auditor and making the request; (3) telephoning or emailing the county auditor to transfer the registration; or (4) submitting an updated voter registration application.

If the voter has missed the deadline, the voter may contact the county auditor, and vote according to his or her previous address.

Moving Between Counties

The voter should update his or her address 29 days before Election Day or earlier with the Secretary of State or the county auditor. The voter must update his or her address by submitted an updated voter registration application.

If the voter has missed the deadline, the voter may contact the county auditor, and vote according to his or her previous address. 

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Military and overseas citizens can register to vote by fax or mail, or can register to vote online using the Washington Secretary of State’s webpage. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Washington-specific FPCA page for details on using the FPCA. 

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can receive voting materials by fax, email, or postal service.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA. Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Washington-specific FPCA page.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 8:00 p.m. Election Day deadline.  Ballots must be returned by the 8 p.m. Election Day deadline if sent by fax, or if sent by mail, post marked by Election Day and received by the county election office by the 20th day after the General Election. The FWAB can be used to register to vote. If you are using the FWAB to register to vote, it must be received by the registration deadline listed in the "Federal Election Deadlines" chart (8PM, November 8th).

You can use the FWAB to vote in federal, State and local elections, including ballot measures. For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Washington-specific FWAB page.

If you were convicted of a felony in Washington State, your right to vote is restored as long as you are not under the authority (in prison or on community custody) of the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). Once your right is restored, you must re-register to vote in order to receive a ballot.

If you have questions about your status with Washington State DOC, you can call (800) 430-9674.

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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2016 Election Information for your state