The Washington State House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 8205 Thursday, leaving voters in Washington with the final say on cleaning up the state’s constitution. If approved by the people in November’s general election, the measure would amend the state constitution to repeal a conflicting residency requirement for voting in a presidential election.
The resolution’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, says while the proposal is technical in nature, even the state constitution requires a little housekeeping from time to time.
“This is the fifth year in a row that I’ve proposed this idea, which is supported by the secretary of state’s office,” Carrell said. “It’s not exactly a punishable crime to violate the state constitution, but it doesn’t make for good policy when we discover inconsistencies in our statutes and do nothing to reconcile them either. I’m very pleased that the people will now make the final call on this no-cost cleanup measure.”
Originally, Article 6, Section 1 of the 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.
SJR 8205 passed the Senate unanimously on Feb. 22.