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AGO 1955 No. 52 - April 04, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

REMOVAL OF NAMES FROMREGISTRATION LISTS  ‑- PROCEDURE

1. There is no existing procedure for the removal of names from the registration lists of one convicted of a crime.

2. Voting of persons described above may be prevented by challenge at the polling place.

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                                                                    April 4, 1955

Honorable James E. Duree
Prosecuting Attorney
Pacific County
South Bend, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 52


Dear Sir:

            In your letter of March 3, 1955, previously acknowledged, you have asked the following questions:

            1. Is there an existing procedure for the removal of the name of a registered voter from the registration list after such person has been convicted of an infamous crime?

            2. If no procedure exists for the removal of the name of a registered voter, who has been subsequently convicted of an infamous crime, from the registration list, can the Attorney General's office outline the steps which should be taken in such a matter?

            In our opinion the answer to the first question is "no."  As to the second question, voting by such persons may be prevented by challenge at the polling place.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            1. The statutes governing registration and voting do not provide a procedure  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] for the removal of the name of a registered voter, who has been convicted of an infamous crime, from the registration list, although he is not, under Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution, entitled to vote.

            RCW 29.10.080 and 29.10.090 provide procedures for the cancellation of registration for failure to vote and for death.  The legislature has not seen fit to take such affirmative action in the case of those convicted of infamous crimes.

            2. RCW 29.59.060 provides a procedure for challenging the vote of one convicted of an infamous crime.  You will note that the statute provides that one previously convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction and who remains unpardoned may be challenged and that an authenticated record of said conviction or the sworn statement of two competent witnesses may be accepted.

            RCW 9.96.030 provides that the Secretary of State shall file a copy of the Governor's certificate restoring the civil rights of one convicted of an infamous crime with the clerk of the superior court in which the conviction was had.

            Your attention is invited to the fact that RCW 29.59.030 makes it the duty of the inspector and each of the judges "to challenge any person offering to vote whom they know or suspect to be not qualified as a voter."  It would thus appear than an authenticated copy of the record of conviction placed in the hands of the judges at the polling place where the one in question is registered will effectively prevent him or her from exercising the elective franchise.

            We hope to be able to confer in the near future with the supervisor of elections, with an eye to working out a practical procedure for the handling of this problem; although undoubtedly legislation should be enacted to deal with it.  We hope the foregoing discussion will prove to be of assistance to you.

Yours very truly,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


B. F. RENO, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

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