Washington Voter Residency Requirement Amendment, SJR 8205 (2011)

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SJR 8205
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Sec. 1A, Article VI
Referred by:Washington Legislature
Topic:Elections and campaigns
Status:Approved Approveda
Washington Voter Residency Requirement Amendment, SJR 8205 appeared on the November 8, 2011 statewide ballot in Washington as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approvedApproveda.

The proposed measure removed a provision from the constitution about the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president or vice president.

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Washington SJR 8205
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,335,039 73.13%
No490,44526.87%

Source: Washington Secretary of State, official election results[1]

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title read:[2]

This amendment would remove an inoperative provision from the state constitution regarding the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president and vice president.

Should this constitutional amendment be:

[ ] Approved

[ ] Rejected

Constitutional changes

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed officially certify the 2011 General Election returns, 12-5-11

SJR 8205 repealed in its entirety Section 1A of Article VI of the Washington Constitution.

The section read:

Text of Section 1A:

Voter Qualifications for Presidential Elections.

In consideration of those citizens of the United States who become residents of the state of Washington during the year of a presidential election with the intention of making this state their permanent residence, this section is for the purpose of authorizing such persons who can meet all qualifications for voting as set forth in section 1 of this article, except for residence, to vote for presidential electors or for the office of President and Vice-President of the United States, as the case may be, but no other: Provided, That such persons have resided in the state at least sixty days immediately preceding the presidential election concerned.

The legislature shall establish the time, manner and place for such persons to cast such presidential ballots.

Support

According to the Washington Secretary of State's website, the following was a statement in favor of the measure that appeared on the state voter guide:[3]

"SJR 8205 fixes conflicting voter residency requirements in the Washington Constitution. Article VI, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution allows a U.S. citizen to vote in all elections after they have resided in the state for 30 days. Article VI, Section 1A of the Washington State Constitution requires that a U.S. citizen reside in the State for 60 days before they can vote for President. While the courts have held that the shorter 30 day residency requirement applies to presidential primaries, there is a need to clean up our constitution and make its provisions consistent. SJR 8205 fixes this conflict by removing Section 1A and the conflicting 60 day residency requirement. This clarifies that the shorter 30 day voter residency requirement is the constitutional standard for all elections in the state, including the presidential election. Please vote to “approve” SJR 8205 to ensure that our state constitution is consistent."

The statement was prepared by Sen. Mike Carrell and Rep. Sam Hunt.

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Opposition

According to the Washington Secretary of State's website, no statement against the measure was submitted for the state voter guide.[3]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Olympian said, "Washington’s Supreme Court has held that the lower, 30-day residency requirement applies to presidential primary elections, but there is a need to clean up the state constitution and remove the 60-day residency requirement for presidential elections. That’s precisely what Senate Joint Resolution 8205 does. It’s a mere housekeeping measure that removes the outdated 60-day rule from the state constitution and makes the 30-day residency requirement standard for all elections. Voters should cast a “yes” vote for SJR 8205 on Nov. 8."[4]
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  • The Columbian said, "The clarification of residency requirements presents no major change in election procedures. The Columbian strongly recommends a “Yes” vote."[5]
  • The Spokesman-Review said, "The first is Senate Joint Resolution 8205, which would resolve a conflict in the state’s constitution when it comes to how long a person needs to reside in the state before being eligible to vote. Currently, it’s 30 days minimum for most elections, but 60 days for presidential contests, thanks to a 1966 constitutional amendment that has been ignored. The change would make it 30 days for all elections. All other eligibility rules would remain the same. Voters should adopt the change for the sake of consistency."[6]
  • The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin said, "SJR 8206 and SJR 8205 should be approved. One makes the state's Rainy Day Fund stronger while the other fixes a conflict in the constitution by establishing a 30-day residency requirement to vote."[7]
  • Sound Politics said, "Removes an inoperative provision in the State Constitution regarding length of residence in Washington required to vote in a presidential election. House keeping action with no known opposition."[8]
  • The News Tribune said, "Senate Joint Resolution 8205 is the housekeeper. It would repeal an obsolete 60-day residency requirement for voting, bringing the law in line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling forbidding requirements of more than 30 days. End of story. Pass it."[9]
  • The Seattle Times said, "Vote also for SJR 8205. It simply erases a clause in the state constitution that says citizens must live in Washington for 60 days before voting for president. The U.S. Supreme Court effectively erased that by setting the figure at 30 days. To actually erase it requires the passage of 8205."[10]
  • The Yakima-Herald Republic said, "SJR 8205 straightens out conflicting language in the part of the constitution concerning voter eligibility. It would entitle all persons who are 18 years or older, citizens of the United States, and who have lived in the state, county, and precinct 30 days immediately preceding the election to vote in all elections."[11]
  • The Tri-City Herald supported SJR 8205.[12]
  • The Herald Everett said, "A second proposed constitutional amendment on the fall ballot is a simple housekeeping measure that voters should approve. It would align conflicting provisions in the state Constitution regarding voter eligibility, clarifying that U.S. citizens who have resided in the state for 30 days or more are eligible to vote in all elections."[13]
  • The Bellingham Herald said, "Senate Joint Resolution 8205 is the housekeeper. It would repeal an obsolete 60-day residency requirement for voting, bringing the law in line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling forbidding requirements of more than 30 days. End of story. Pass it."[14]
  • The Wenatchee World said,"Senate Joint Resolution 8205 is a housekeeping measure that erases a conflict in the state’s constitution. One clause allows citizens to vote in any election after residing in the state for 30 days. Another requires 60 days’ residence to vote for president. The 60-day rule is negated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. This amendment scratches it and settles on the 30-day standard. Vote yes. Mark your ballot “approved.”"[15]

Path to the ballot

See also: How the Washington Constitution is amended

In order to place the measure on the statewide ballot, the measure required at least a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

On February 22, 2011 the Senate voted 46-0 in favor of referring the measure to the ballot. The House also voted unanimously on April 7, 2011 with a 92-0 vote. The measure was referred to the Washington Secretary of State on April 20, 2011.[16]

Timeline

Calendar.png

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Senate vote February 22, 2011 Senate voted 46-0 in favor of the measure
House vote April 7, 2011 House voted 92-0 in support of the measure
Certified July 25, 2011 The measure was certified and referred to the ballot

See also

By Bailey Ludlam
Ballot measure writer

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Articles

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Washington Secretary of State - From Our Corner blog, "Gregoire, Reed certify 2011 election returns," December 5, 2011
  2. Washington Secretary of State, "2011 General Election Online Voters' Guide - SJR 8205," accessed July 11, 2011 (dead link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Washington Secretary of State, "2011 General Election Online Voters' Guide," accessed November 2, 2011 (dead link)
  4. The Olympian, "ELECTION 2011: Constitutional amendments," September 27, 2011
  5. The Columbian,"‘Yes’ on 2 Resolutions," October 20, 2011
  6. The Spokesman-Review, "Editorial: Voting rule, reserve fund both wise proposals," October 20, 2011
  7. Union-Bulletin, "SJR 8206 and SJR 8205 should be approved," October 17, 2011
  8. Sound Politics, "Recommendations for November 8, 2011 Elections," October 24, 2011
  9. The News Tribune, "Yes on SJR 8206: If only we’d had it 10 years ago," October 24, 2011
  10. The Seattle Times, "Support two state constitutional amendments, especially budget-savings measure," October 24, 2011
  11. Yakima-Herald Republic, "Ballots are out -- Here are suggestions on how to vote," October 22, 2011 (dead link)
  12. Tri-City Herald, "Recommendations recap for general election," October 23, 2011
  13. The Herald Everett, "Force some budget discipline," October 5, 2011
  14. The Bellingham Herald, "OUR VIEW: Pass legislative resolutions for voting rights and strengthening 'rainy day' fund," October 29, 2011
  15. The Wenatchee World, "To save for a rainy day is wise," October 28, 2011
  16. Washington State Legislature, "SJR 8205 status," accessed July 11, 2011