2019 Issues Forum: Voting Rights and Responsibilities
What are the barriers and challenges to voting in our community?
You are invited to participate in a community conversation with your neighbors and local experts. Together well explore ways to
increase voter participation that works for:
All profits will be donated to the League of Women Voters.
Join the 1st Legislative District Democrats as we consider these important issues and develop solutions to them:
§ Barriers to voting
Language - Americans speak many languages. As a result not only do our ballots need to be in alternate languages, the candidates have to be able to reach all of the electorate. Without this how can a non-English speaker make an informed decision.
Education -The more people know the more they are apt to vote. In 2016, eighty percent of persons with a post graduate degree voted while under thirty-five percent of those with less than a high school education voted.
Income Level -The more people make the more they are apt to vote. In the 2012 election, 80.2 percent of those making more than $150,000 voted, while only 46.9 percent of those making less than $10,000 voted.
§ Historically disenfranchised voters
Race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation also often play a part in election campaigns. When candidates use terms that can be read as code words for minority inclusion or exclusion, potential voters may decide to sit out an election. A basic fact of voting is that candidates typically must obtain a majority of the votes cast, and if they do not need the votes of a minority population, they often ignore them. This can have the effect of alienating groups that are not targeted by a campaign manager so they have little incentive to vote.
§ Alternative voting approaches
Nearly every state uses a similar system for casting and counting votesvoters select one candidate per race on a ballot and the candidate that receives the most votes wins. This is known as plurality voting or winner-take-all. Plurality voting isnt the only option, though. Ranked choice voting, approval voting and proportional representation are other options.
§ Access to the ballot/representation
Other factors impact voter turnout and access including, gerrymandering, population prohibitions to voting (restoration of voting rights, citizenship requirements) and accurate Census counts.
Niko Battle: Snohomish County State Committee Member and Mukilteo High School Senior
Niko Battle has been politically active since the young age of twelve, long before they could vote. They are a strong voice for the youth advocacy and became the public face for I-1639 Safe Schools, Safe Communities which is the most comprehensive gun violence prevention measure in state history. Furthermore, they are the CEO of We Wont Be Next, a student led gun violence prevention non-profit, and a top ten, nationally ranked member of their debate team.
Barbra Chevalier: Director - Seattle-King County League of Women Voters
Barbra is the current Voter Services Chair for the Seattle-King County League of Women Voters and the Election Methods Lobby Chair for the WA state LWV. Although a consistent voter, she was motivated to become more actively involved when she learned that if Did Not Vote had been a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, they would have won by a landslide. Since representative democracy doesnt work if people dont work it, she joined the League and has been working diligently to educate voters and improve our electoral system ever since.
A strong believer in bipartisanship and the value of unbiased information, she is dedicated to furthering the Leagues mission of empowering voters and defending democracy.
Raymond Miller: Chairman, Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Committee, Alaska, Oregon, Washington State Area Conference NAACP
Ray is also the President and Founder of Vets Place Northwest-Welcome Home and Founding member and Past Chairman of the National Coordinating Committee, National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. Ray is a US Air Force & Vietnam era veteran. He has served as the Vice Chair of the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission and the Snohomish County Branch of the NAACP.
In 2017 he was a candidate for the Snohomish County Council. He is the recipient of the following awards: Henry M. Jackson National Service Award Snohomish County Democrats, Alaska Oregon and Washington State Area Conference NAACP Presidents Award, and Lincoln Honors Award Nominee: Veteran of the Year.
Tina Podlodowski: Chair, WA State Democrats
Tina is the daughter of two naturalized U.S. citizens who fled post-WWII Europe as refugees. As a first generation American and lifelong Democrat, Tina has spent her life fighting for equality and a level playing field for all.
Tinas 30+ years of leadership in technology, government, and management has saved taxpayers millions of dollars, improved public safety and health, and revolutionized technology. Tina has closely worked on over 50 different initiative and candidate campaigns locally and nationally.
Tinas strong belief in equality for all guided her work in leadership roles with Washington Citizens for Fairness, the Pride Foundation, The Human Rights Campaign, The Victory Fund, The Task Force and LPAC. She is a former member of the Visiting Committee at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.
She is a Washington State Woman of Influence. She was awarded the Spirit Award from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle for her accomplishments in engaging diverse communities. Her political and philanthropic work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, People, and Vanity Fair.
Stephen Rattner: Fair Vote Washington
Stephen Rattner is a Kirkland resident and has been a Microsoft employee since 2005. His passion for politics and public policy brought him to volunteer for FairVote Washington, where he is helping lead the expansion of their Speakers Bureau. Stephen believes Ranked Choice Voting is a critical electoral reform needed for the state of Washington and will lead to greater choices for voters, more positive political campaigns, and an engaged electorate.
FairVote Washington is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) grassroots organization advocating for electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, & a more representative democracy.
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