Washington launches online voter registration

In a continuing effort to bring elections closer to home, Washington has joined Arizona as one of two states in the country to offer online voter registration.

Last week, the state launched Phase I of the project, furthering Washington’s position as a national frontrunner in the area of election administration and technology.

“In the 21st Century, people conduct their most personal transactions online and they expect the same level of customer service from government,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said in a press release. “This milestone delivers, using the most secure technology available.”

Starting this week, prospective voters can conveniently complete registration applications online at http://www.secstate.wa.gov and/or http://www.vote.wa.gov and submit the forms electronically. Each form will be carefully reviewed by county elections officials before a voter is placed on the voting rolls.

“Online voter registration is secure,” Reed said in the press release. “Because it is only available to those who have a state driver’s license or a state identification card, applicants will have personally stood before a state employee, presented proper documentation and had their pictures taken.”

Throughout all voter registration processes, applicants must swear under oath that they are American citizens, eligible to vote and have not lost the right to vote due to a felony conviction. Providing false information on the voter registration form, either paper or electronic, remains a class C felony punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Phase II of the online registration will fully automate the process statewide and is well under way. Not only can voters complete and submit applications online, their applications will be transmitted to the counties electronically. Vendors are in the process of upgrading systems in many counties to allow them to receive the electronic registrations.

In the meantime, the state will print and mail paper versions of all forms submitted online to county election departments.

Citizens have until Jan. 19 to register online and participate in Washington’s upcoming Presidential Primary slated for Feb. 19.

To learn more, visit http://www.secstate.wa.gov and look for the icon.