The Washington State Senate unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 8205 Tuesday. The measure would amend the state constitution to repeal a conflicting residency requirement for voting in a presidential election.
“For more than 40 years, the state has been inadvertently violating its own constitution in every presidential election,” said Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, who is sponsoring the proposal for the fifth time in as many legislative sessions. “There is conflicting language in the state constitution regarding residency requirements to vote in elections. This resolution would remove those unused and unimplemented sections.”
Originally, Article 6, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution required a voter to reside in the state for one year, in a particular county for 90 days and in a particular city, town, ward, or precinct for 30 days immediately preceding the election in order to be allowed to vote.
Section 1A was added in 1966, allowing United States citizens who become Washington residents during a presidential election year with the intention of making it their permanent residence to vote for president and vice president if they resided in the state at least 60 days immediately preceding the election.
Then in 1974, Section 1 was amended to allow all persons 18 years or older, who are U.S. citizens and have lived in the state, county and precinct for 30 days immediately preceding the election to vote in all elections, which conflicts with Section 1A.
“It just makes good sense to clean up the constitution when we can,” Carrell said. “This resolution will allow everyone to follow the same set of rules, and the secretary of state’s office agrees that this proposal is a good housekeeping measure.”
SJR 8205 requires the secretary of state to submit a constitutional amendment to the voters to repeal Article 6, Section 1A, of the Washington State Constitution. The resolution will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.