x
Breaking News
More () »

Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

Washington state OKs bill to give voting rights to parolees

The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2020, file photo, state Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, holds blank voter registration forms as she poses for a photo at her home in Bremerton, Wash. Washington state lawmakers voted to automatically restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they're still on community supervision. Simmons was incarcerated herself before being released and becoming a lawyer.

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.