Sen. June Robinson, who represents the 38th legislative district in the Washington State Senate, spoke to Upper School students during an Oct. 21 assembly about the voting process in Washington state.
Robinson began by laying out her path to politics from a career in public health and human services, citing a desire to solve problems in her community through policy making, and a belief that “politics is a way to serve your community.” She walked students through voting history in the United States, highlighting the barriers and restrictions faced by populations, and detailed how districts are determined and which positions are elected.
Focusing on the voting process in Washington state, Robinson discussed the populist style of the state’s constitution and the resulting multitude of elected positions — from fire districts and port commissioners to state offices. Discussing the shift to mail-in voting in the early 2000s, she shared, “We keep trying to reduce barriers to voting to allow everyone to be able to vote in a way that meets their needs.”
After outlining the process of voter registration and securely voting by mail, Robinson explained how counties process ballots. Regarding voter fraud, she said, “In Washington state, we have very secure elections. In the 2016 election, there were 3.36 million votes cast in the state, and only 74 questionable votes were found. Fifty-nine were people who may have voted in multiple states, 14 may have voted twice, and one was a deceased voter — a fraud rate of .002%.”
Robinson then took questions from students, including how people experiencing homelessness vote in Washington, whether voter registration changes when you move states, and if mail-in voting will take hold nationally. Students also asked about other forms of voting and government, like rank choice voting and parliamentary systems, and how they can make their voices heard if they are too young to vote.
Conversations about elections and media literacy will continue at the Upper School in a series of To Be Honest conversations and in advisory groups. Learn how the Middle School is teaching media literacy in this blog by librarian Janelle Hagen. And read more about Lakeside’s preparations for the Nov. 3 election in a letter from Head of School Bernie Noe to parents and guardians.