OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers have voted to automatically restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they're still on parole.
With the support of majority Democrats, the state Senate passed the measure Wednesday night, following earlier approval by the House.
The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.
The main sponsor of the measure is Rep. Tarra Simmons, a Democratic lawmaker from Bremerton who was incarcerated herself before becoming a lawyer.
"Her success story is what we want for all people who are completing their prison term," Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, said during the floor debate. "Let's give that opportunity to others as well by restoring their voices and their right to vote."
Supporters call the issue a matter of racial justice, considering the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on people of color.