For Immediate Release
February 24, 2021
Today the Washington State House voted to automatically restore voting rights to more than 20,000 people with past criminal convictions who are on probation and parole. The measure, House Bill 1078, now moves to the state senate, with April 11 as the deadline for passage. If the bill becomes law, Washington will become the 19th state to restore voting rights for people under community supervision.
Sean Morales-Doyle, deputy director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had the following comment:
“For years, the state of Washington has been a leader in advancing voter’s rights, except for the state’s law disenfranchising people on probation and parole. Today’s vote was a critical step towards making Washington a true model of democracy. Now the Senate must do the same.
“Restoring voting rights helps people returning from prison feel welcomed as worthy members of society. That’s crucial for rejoining their communities and building productive lives for themselves and their families.
“House Bill 1078 is also a matter of racial justice. As a result of racial disparities in the criminal justice system, Washington’s Black residents are four times more likely to be disenfranchised than the state’s non-Black residents. It’s time to make that burden a thing of the past.”