Native American voting rights bill proposed ahead of upcoming legislative session

  • Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:30am
  • News

By Emma Epperly

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

A proposed bill would allow the residential address portion of a voter registration form to be filled out with a nontraditional address.

Democrat majority caucus chair, Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, pre-filed SB 5079, titled The Native American voting rights act of Washington.

“The Washington state Legislature has a chance to rectify historical wrongs with the passage of the Native American Voting Rights Act. In doing so, we will send a loud and simple message to the Native community: we recognize that civic participation as we know it today began with American Indians, and as sovereign citizens of the United States you have the right to have your voice heard at every level of government,” said McCoy.

A nontraditional address consists of a narrative description of the location of the individual’s residence, according to the bill.

The bill modifies the minimum information required for voter registration under state law, to allow for “unmarked homes” and “a nontraditional residential address may be used when a voter resides on an Indian reservation or on Indian lands.”

Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, had not read the bill but said it sounds like a concept she could support but would have to read the bill in its entirety before having a definitive stance.

The pre-filed bill also allows for voters to list a building designated by the tribe in their precinct as their residential address if need be.

McCoy is a Tulalip Tribe member and has served as chairman of the executive committee of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators.

“Now, more than ever, we must reassure the American people that their government works for them — regardless of their appearance, ethnic origins or history, or any other discriminatory artifices,” said McCoy

McCoy sponsored SB 5028 during the last legislative session which requires teacher preparation programs to integrate Native American curriculum. The bill passed and became effective on June 7, 2018. McCoy has a track record of supporting Native American interests both as a House Representative from 2003-13, and as a state Senator since 2013.

More in News

Lawmakers propose an increase in school levy rates

A majority of school districts in Washington state say they need additional funding.

Kilmer discusses Inslee, climate change during Peninsula visit

Gov. Jay Inslee is at the top of U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer’s… Continue reading

State revenue forecast shows a $554 million increase for 2019-21

Legislators have $554 million more to spend than originally projected for the… Continue reading

Lawmakers consider extending eviction process timeline

Protecting tenant rights through increasing the length of eviction proceedings is part… Continue reading

City OKs 57 new homes on Hendrickson Road

Work has began on a new housing development geared toward seniors called… Continue reading

Miano to run for Fire District commissioner seat

William “Bill” Miano, a veteran of the fire service, has announced his… Continue reading

Soroptimist’s garden show continues to plant seeds in Sequim

Plenty of locals and visitors helped pack the 21st annual Soroptimist Gala… Continue reading

Teacher, Sequim School District settle discrimination lawsuit

Middle school teacher and former Athletic Director Autumn St. George has settled… Continue reading

Police blotter — March 20, 2019

The weekly police blotter includes incidents that occurred in the City of… Continue reading

Most Read