Like many Washingtonians, I want a democracy where every citizen has their voice heard. But today, over 20,000 of our neighbors who are living in their communities, paying taxes and working hard for their families cannot vote because they are impacted by the criminal legal system. For the months or years that they are under community supervision, they are denied a say in the issues that affect their daily lives.
As someone who has had loved ones directly impacted by the criminal justice system, I’ve witnessed the biases in our criminal legal system. Washingtonians who are Black/African American, Indigenous, or low-income are much more likely to lose their voting rights this way.
Our legislature has a chance to right this wrong through House Bill 1078, which would return the fundamental right to vote to all citizens in our communities.
This bill is a top priority for me and other voting rights advocates, including the many impacted people who are leading the push for Voting Rights Restoration. Allowing every citizen in the community to vote will promote racial justice, build a stronger democracy, and set people up for success when they return back to their communities. I urge The Herald’s readers to support this important movement!
Editor’s note: HB 1078 has passed both chambers of the Legislature and now goes to the governor’s office for his signature.