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House passes automatic voter registration bill

OLYMPIA – Some Washington residents would be automatically registered to vote when they get a certain kind of driver’s license under a bill approved Monday by the House.

In a party-line 50-48 vote, the House approved a stripped-down version of a bill that would automatically register citizens who aren’t on the voter rolls in Washington if they apply for an enhanced driver’s license. To obtain that license, a person must show proof of citizenship or legal residence in the state.

The bill that passed has some significant changes from the the original proposal, which also called for automatically registering citizens who sign up for medical insurance on the Health Benefits Exchange and programs from some other state agencies. It also has some differences from an automatic voter registration bill approved by the Senate on Saturday.

Differences will have to be ironed out and a final bill pass the Legislature before it closes on March 8.