Secretary Hobbs praises Legislature for passing elections security bills and reinforcing important public services

Thursday, March 14, 2024

King County election workers
Photo courtesy King County Elections

OLYMPIA—During the 2024 legislative session, the Legislature approved several bills and $33.3 million in funding requested by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs that will enhance the integrity of Washington elections and improve support for charities and libraries statewide.

“These bills and critical funding will go a long way toward reducing barriers to voter registration, enhancing election security, and supporting libraries and other key services,” Secretary Hobbs said. 
“I thank the Legislature for their strong support of these important efforts.”

Priority legislation includes:

House Bill 1241, sponsored by Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place), makes harassing election workers a class C felony and allows harassed election officials to apply for the Address Confidentiality Program.

House Bill 1962, requested by Secretary Hobbs and sponsored by Rep. Sam Low (R-Lake Stevens), helps maintain accurate voter lists and streamlines registration updates for voters moving from one Washington county to another.

Senate Bill 5843, requested by Secretary Hobbs and sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center), requires counties to notify the Office of the Secretary of State if they experience malicious cyber activity and maintain intrusion detection systems to safeguard against election cyber threats, among other security improvements.

Senate Bill 5824, requested by Secretary Hobbs and sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), protects library districts and expands voter eligibility to include all qualified district residents who can vote when a proposal for library dissolution appears on the ballot. It also increases the petitioning threshold from 10% of voters in unincorporated areas to 25% of qualified voters in the district.

These bills now await the governor’s signature.

Among the $33.3 million allocated in supplemental budgets for the Office of the Secretary of State, $23.75 million will support election cost reimbursements to Washington’s 39 counties for the 2024 elections. 

Another $3.9 million will stabilize operations of Washington State Library and Washington State Archives operating funds, which are experiencing shortfalls due to historically low transactions from document recording fees, as well as provide continued funding for the new Library and Archives building in Tumwater. 

In addition, $500,000 will expand voter education and outreach programs statewide, 

$587,000 will modernize the Combined Fund Drive donor management system, $72,000 will expand charities education outreach, and $52,000 will support Office of the Secretary of State international trade missions to expand workforce development opportunities stateside and abroad.

“Thank you to Senator June Robinson, Representative Timm Ormsby, and the budget committee members for your tireless work shaping this budget,” Secretary Hobbs said.


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