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Politics Inslee signs bill restoring voting rights to parolees in Washington state

19:40  08 april  2021
19:40  08 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Jay Inslee wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Inslee signs bill restoring voting rights to parolees in Washington state © Getty Images Inslee signs bill restoring voting rights to parolees in Washington state

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill on Wednesday restoring voting rights to non-incarcerated parolees in the state.

HB 1078 also applies to those convicted of a felony in courts outside of Washington.

The legislation, which goes into effect in January, also requires the state to notify felons of the restoration of voter fights prior to their release from total confinement.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Inslee thanked the sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Tarra Simmons (D), who was incarcerated herself before becoming a lawyer and being elected to the legislature in November.

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

Washington is the 20th state to restore voting rights to felons upon their release from prison, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The center estimates that the bill will restore voting rights to 20,000 felons.

Its passage comes as GOP-led states move to restrict voting rules after some disappointing results in the 2020 elections, leading to backlash from Democrats, corporate America and voting rights advocates.

Some states work to expand voting rights for people with felony convictions

  Some states work to expand voting rights for people with felony convictions Amid the push to enact restrictive voting legislation, lawmakers in some states are working to expand voting rights for people with felony convictions. After initially failing in 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee restored voting rights to more than 20,000 people with felony convictions who are out of prison, but still under community supervision.

Bills restricting early or absentee voting have been passed or taken up by states including Georgia and Texas.

Only a few states thus far have moved to expand access to voting, counter to the trend.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Wednesday signed a bill that would establish three days of early voting, place voting centers for more in-person voting options and open a digital portal for voters to register and apply for ballots.

"While other states are restricting the right to vote, I'm glad that Washington, here is expanding our access to democracy," Inslee said Wednesday.

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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: 1
This is interesting!