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Politics Washington governor signs bill restoring voting rights after prison release

05:50  08 april  2021
05:50  08 april  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday that will automatically restore the voting rights of people convicted of a felony once they are released from prison , even if they are still under community supervision.

The Washington Legislature passed a bill this week that will restore voting rights to felons directly after they leave prison . Simmons made history in 2020 after becoming the first former inmate elected to the Washington Legislature. She sees this bill as crucial to helping people reintegrate back into society after prison . “My being here today as a state legislator is directly tied to the ability several years ago to successfully reenter the community after incarceration and become a voter again,” she said.

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday that will automatically restore the voting rights of people convicted of a felony once they are released from prison, even if they are still under community supervision.

Jay Inslee wearing a suit and tie © Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The law, which takes effect next year, will restore voting rights to more than 20,000 people in the state, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Currently, people with felonies in the state can only have their voting rights restored after finishing the conditions of their sentence.

"While other states are restricting the right to vote, I'm glad that in Washington, we are expanding access to democracy," Inslee said before signing the bill.

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Last year, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed into a law a bill that removed the requirement that citizens convicted of a first-time felony offense pay off their restitution before having their rights restored . In 2018, about 65% of Florida citizens voted in favor of Amendment 4, a ballot measure restoring the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions — except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. The state legislature then passed Senate Bill 7086, which conditioned rights restoration on payment of all fines, fees and restitution.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House approved a bill Friday that would restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act that once required officials in all or parts of 15 mostly Southern states to receive federal approval before making changes to the voting process. The bill would amend the 1965 law to impose new obligations on states and local jurisdictions, essentially reversing a 2013 Supreme Court decision that tossed out a "pre-clearance" provision that determined which jurisdictions needed federal oversight of elections.

The new law makes Washington one of a few Democratic states that have moved to expand voting access in stark contrast to the Republican rush in statehouses across the country to make voting more difficult.

Republican lawmakers have introduced 361 restrictive bills in a different set of 47 states. Texas, Arizona and Georgia -- states that are competitive in presidential elections, but where Republicans have full control of statehouses -- have seen the largest numbers of restrictive bills introduced, according to the Brennan Center.

The crush of new voting rules comes after former President Donald Trump's lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election ignited a new, fiercely partisan flame under the fundamental issue of voting access.

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Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that will restore the voting rights of convicted felons, a measure he says will enfranchise 77,000 people. The Detroit Lions have fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia, ending the franchise's attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England. The Lions made the moves Saturday, surprising no one. Detroit (4-7) lost consecutive games for the third time this season, collapsing in a 41-25 loss to Houston at home on Thursday after getting shut out for the first time in

Amendment 4 restores the rights of voters with felony convictions after they complete their sentences, including probation and parole. People convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense are not covered under the amendment. In 2019, Governor Beshear signed an Executive Order restoring voting rights to many individuals with non-violent felonies on their records. Those who complete their sentence need a Notice of Restoration (provided by the Dept. of Corrections upon final discharge).

The Washington state Legislature approved the measure despite Republicans' objections to restoring the voting rights of those who are on parole or probation.

Wednesday's bill was sponsored by state Rep. Tarra Simmons, who has a past conviction herself.

"Regaining the right to vote, after having lost so many things, meant more to me than most people could imagine," she said in a statement after the bill was signed.

"This might seem a small thing to some people, but it's a giant step for civil rights and it's one that will give others what it gave me: a belief that I mattered, that I was once again a member of society, and that my freedom was worth preserving at all costs."

Inslee specifically mentioned Simmons in a tweet Wednesday, praising her as someone who has "successfully and effectively used her own lived experience to benefit others."

"This is a good day for democracy in Washington state," the governor said.

Republican state lawmakers look to pass stricter voting requirements. This is how they would work. .
Despite winning the Electoral College in 2016, Trump couldn’t admit he had actually lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, instead claiming without evidence that she had received millions of illegal votes. Trump made his baseless election fraud accusations again going into the 2020 election and escalated them after Joe Biden was declared the winner, with Trump and many of his supporters refusing to acknowledge his defeat. The widespread belief among Republicans that the election was illegitimate culminated in a “Stop the Steal” rally headlined by Trump on Jan. 6, the day Congress met to officially certify Biden as the winner of the election.

usr: 0
This is interesting!