Rashid Abdi registers to vote for the first time
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Amina Ahmed faces an uphill battle on a breezy Saturday morning in a neighborhood straddling Tukwila and SeaTac: She's running a voter registration drive.

Ahmed is up against power and influence in American politics. The wealthy have it. And they also vote at much higher rates.

Election officials are calling it a watershed year for voters in Washington. 

Roughly 4.2 million people are registered to vote, a record for Washington state. That represents 83 percent of all the people eligible to vote in Washington, according to an outside researcher and the Secretary of State.

Women's suffragists parade in New York City in 1917, carrying placards with signatures of more than a million women.
Wikimedia Commons

There was a time when voting wasn’t so boring.

History remembers those bygone voting days as a blast. Think the Suffrage movement, Civil Rights and pretty much all the 19th century (before women or people of color could vote, so not much of a party for them). But in the last decades, voting has become antiseptic and antisocial.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman Friday introduced a proposal that would allow election officials to verify the citizenship of voters in the state. It comes in response to questions about whether the suspect in a recent shooting near Seattle voted legally.

Ballot drop box in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke speaks with Todd Donovan, political science professor at Western Washington University, about the low voter turnouts for Washington's August primaries. Donovan is also an elected council member in Whatcom County. 

Exercising the constitutional right to vote in Pakistan can sometimes come at a painful price. Fouzia Talib says she has become a social outcast overnight. People are abusing her with such ferocity that she has temporarily left home to seek refuge elsewhere.

Flickr Photo/Justin Grimes (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Estevan Munoz-Howard of Honest Elections Seattle about Seattle Initiative 122. If it makes the November ballot, voters would be asked to approve a property tax hike to pay for an election reform package that includes giving voters vouchers worth $100 to donate to their favorite candidates.

A bill that would move Idaho’s presidential primaries up two months, into March, passed the state Senate Tuesday.

Flickr Photo/Sean Dreilinger (CC-BY-NC-ND)

What a week! A website we've never heard of is snapped up by Amazon for a billion dollars. Called Twitch, it allows people to watch other people play video games.

Also, Weyerhaeuser announces it's moving its forest to the big city, Burger King buys out a Canadian institution and we ask, are Seahawks fans becoming spoil sports?

Bill Radke discusses those issues and more with our panel of journalists: Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders, Civic Cocktail's Joni Balter and LiveWire's Luke Burbank.

A federal judge has ruled that the way city council members are elected in Yakima, Washington, disenfranchises Latino voters.

Is Voting Still Too Hard?

Aug 8, 2014
Flickr Photo/Vox Efx (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with political science professor Michael Alvarez about why less than 30 percent of eligible voters in Seattle voted in the August 5 primary. They discuss how to better engage the average voter, which includes something suspiciously like OKCupid.

Flickr Photo/Hillary H (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Matthew Segal, co-founder of, about why young people have such low voter turnout and how to improve it.

Election season is getting underway in states all over the country, and voting rights advocates worry some of those places may move to disenfranchise minorities by exploiting a Supreme Court ruling.

That ruling last June blew up a system that had forced states with a history of discrimination to win federal approval before making election changes.

Now, legal groups are responding by training a new generation of activists to sue. Consider this recent gathering of a few dozen lawyers and community activists on the 28th floor of an Atlanta skyscraper.

Are You Voting?

Nov 6, 2012
Flickr Photo/Tim Olson (CC-BY-NC-ND)`

Eighty five percent of registered voters cast ballots in Washington state back in 2008, breaking the prior record for turnout that was set back in World War II. Secretary of State Sam Reed says he expects more than 80 percent will turn out this year.  Still, not everyone exercises the right to vote.  What about you?

King County Primary Ballot
(Flickr photo/Brian Daniel Eisenberg)

Washington state’s online voter registration system is vulnerable to hackers, according to The New York Times.  

The newspaper said it took less than three minutes to get the information it needed to access the registrations of some unnamed executives.