Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

The Columbian has an editorial today about the case Attorney General McKenna will argue before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.  AG McKenna will press the court to reverse a January ruling against our state’s ban on felons voting while they are behind bars or under community supervision. The Columbian optimistically writes:

The 9th’s 11 members likely will be swayed by this logical argument from McKenna: “When felons choose to commit their crimes, they choose to forfeit certain valuable rights upon conviction, among them the right to vote. Our nation has a long history of denying the right to vote to those who choose to commit felonies … Our state constitution mandates felon disenfranchisement and the U.S. Constitution sanctions it in section two of the 14th Amendment.” We wonder how two judges could’ve earlier ignored that kind of logic back in January.

We also trust that the larger panel of judges will recognize that reclaiming the right to vote is an excellent incentive for incarcerated felons to get their lives straight and return to society. As Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed said last week, “Once inmates satisfy their prison sentence and community supervision, our Legislature has recently provided that they may apply to have their voting rights restored as part of reintegrating back into the community.” More ultra-logical thinking, we say.

You'll find more information about felons and voting rights on the Secretary of State's Web site. My personal favorite is this handy bullet about how a felon may retain his right to vote:

  • Do not commit another felony.

-Dan Sytman-