Legislature passes Native American voting services bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Legislature has approved a proposal to expand voting services on tribal reservations.

The Senate, which initially passed the measure last month, passed the bill on a 45-3 vote Friday after concurring with changes made in the House. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. John McCoy of Tulalip, would require county officials to establish at least one voting drop box on any tribal reservation if requested by the tribe.

Along with drop boxes, the proposal also allows tribal members to use tribal identification cards to register to vote, and to register using non-traditional addresses, including a narrative description of the location of a voter's residence.

Non-traditional addresses were already permitted under state law in certain circumstances; the bill would broadly add voters who live on tribal lands to the list.

Among the amendments made by the House, which passed the bill on a 95-3 vote Tuesday, were including allowing a tribe to choose a tribal government building that is not a ballot pickup and collection location to be used as an address for voter registration.