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Inslee signs bill to restore voting rights to parolees

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Tarra Simmons, a Bremerton Democrat who herself was incarcerated.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill automatically restoring voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they are still on parole. 

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Tarra Simmons, a Bremerton Democrat who herself was incarcerated before going to law school and being elected to the Legislature last fall. 

She and other supporters say the measure would help encourage former prisoners to reintegrate into society and that it was a matter of racial justice, as those on parole in Washington are disproportionately people of color. 

More than 20,000 people stand to regain their voting rights when the law takes effect next year.