WA State Debates Voting Rights For Former Inmates


Washington’s Secretary of State will move to purge the rolls of felons who have registered to vote despite a ban in the state’s constitution and laws, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Those registrations slipped through cracks in the complex system of requirements and record keeping that establishes which felons have won back their voting rights. A King County judge will hear arguments Friday in a lawsuit that challenges state laws denying the vote to criminals who have completed their prison sentences and probations but can’t pay their fines and court costs.

Beverly DuBois, 49, said she was a regular voter before her 2002 conviction for manufacturing and delivering marijuana. She spent nine months in jail and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the county drug enforcement fund, $500 in victim assessments and $170 in court costs, for a total of $1,670. Disabled by injuries from a car crash, DuBois lives on Social Security and disability payments and food stamps. “I’m being penalized just because I’m poor and disabled,” she said. Former state GOP Chairman Chris Vance argues that it’s “perfectly reasonable public policy to say that the right to vote is something we’re going to deny you as long as you are outside the bounds of civil society. That means you have to do everything that the court has ordered you to do.” Democrats want to change the law because it would benefit them, Vance said.

Link: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/257513_election30.html

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