voting rights | KNKX

voting rights

State Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, became a lawyer after being incarcerated. She sponsored legislation to restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they're still on parole.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed a bill automatically restoring voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they are still on parole — a measure sponsored by a lawmaker who was herself formerly incarcerated.

State Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, became a lawyer after being incarcerated. She sponsored legislation to restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they're still on parole.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Washington state lawmakers have voted to automatically restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison after committing felonies, even if they’re still on parole.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law four bills aimed at expanding access to voting. They include a new state Voting Rights Act.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will soon be able to pre-register to vote in Washington. That’s just one of several voting-related bills the governor is scheduled to sign into law Monday.

Vice President Pence has yet to begin a promised investigation into allegations by President Trump that millions of people voted illegally in November. But that hasn't stopped state lawmakers from taking action they say would limit voter fraud, even though the president's claims have been widely discredited.

Legislation to tighten voter ID and other requirements has already been introduced in about half the states this year. And in statehouse after statehouse, the debate has had a familiar ring.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Starting Wednesday, counties are mailing out ballots in Washington state. Registered voters can expect to receive theirs by the weekend. In King County, more of the ballots going out are in a language other than English.

The Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is hoping to change the way elections are run in Pasco. In a lawsuit filed Thursday the group alleges that the city is violating elections laws by not giving Latinos a fair voice in the current election system.

Pavan Vangipuram / One America

A bill to aimed at protecting voting rights in Washington isn’t dead but it’s barely breathing. And immigrant and civil rights organizations are scrambling to keep it alive.

Austin Jenkins

A federal judge has ruled that the way city council members are elected in Yakima, Washington disenfranchises Latino voters.

Last week’s surprising ruling comes exactly two years after the ACLU filed a federal Voting Rights Act lawsuit against the city.