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Automatic voter registration bill passes out of House

by caprecord

The House passed a bill Monday that would allow certain agencies that provide public assistance to automatically register people to vote.

Prime sponsor of the bill Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, said he hopes the bill will result in better election turnout.

“We want to enable as many of our citizens to have access to the ballot box as possible,” he said. “This bill is about people who have proven their citizenship as United States citizens.”

According to the House Bill 2682, “Beginning January 1, 2017, the DOL, Health Benefit Exchange, and other agencies providing public assistance or services to persons with disabilities and designated by the Governor, are established as Qualified Voter Registration Agencies.”

Hunt said that Oregon began a similar program this year. During the month of January, 7,300 new voter registrations were received and 17,000 people updated their voter registration.

Rep. Jeff Holy, R-Cheney voted no. He said he doesn’t feel comfortable with the bill yet but said that it was a “noble” idea.

“It’s compelling. However in a short session we’ve had a bit of a problem for this to develop to a point where there’s a level of comfort,” he said.

The bill passed 55-42 and heads to the Senate for consideration.

Watch TVW video here.