Seattle (AP) — Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on Wednesday to automatically regain voting rights for those released from prison after committing a felony, even during parole.
“I’m pleased to have increased access to democracy in Washington while other states have restricted their right to vote,” Inslee said.
Congressman Tara Simmons was convicted of assault in 2001 and drug and theft in 2011 after being involved in the fight against methamphetamine due to his father’s death. However, she attended law school and, after her release, received approval from the State Supreme Court to take the bar examination. Last November, she was clearly the first former serious offender to be elected to Congress.
She and other supporters said the measure helped encourage former prisoners to reintegrate into society, and because the parolees in Washington were disproportionately colored, on the issue of racial justice. Said there is. When the law comes into force next year, more than 20,000 people are standing to regain voting rights.
“Regaining the right to vote after losing a lot meant more than most people could imagine,” Bremerton Democrat Simmons said in a news release Wednesday. But it’s a big step towards civil rights, what it gives me to others. I am important, I am once again a member of society, and the belief that my freedom is worth sustaining at any cost. “
About 20 other states also allow parole votes. In Washington, criminals are not allowed to vote until the correctional bureau’s community oversight, which can last up to three years for violent crimes, is complete.
Inslee thanked Simmons for working on the bill.
“As someone who rebuilt life after imprisonment, she has successfully and effectively used her living experience for the benefit of others and our community,” Inslee said.
Senate Republicans, despite support from many sources, including the State Attorney’s Office, the Washington Prosecutor’s Association, advocates for some victims, and Republican Republican Jesse Young who supported the bill. Opposed to.
A Republican senator said former prisoners should complete the ruling, including parole, and show that they can comply with the law before regaining their right to vote.
Associated Press correspondent Rachel La Corte contributed from Olympia.