Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that ends the disenfranchisement of voters with felony convictions who are on parole or owe court fines or fees after having fully served their sentences, leaving only those who are currently incarcerated unable to vote.
The new law’s passage marks two historic milestones. It was successfully championed by Democratic state Rep. Tarra Simmons, who became the first formerly incarcerated lawmaker in state history after her election last year. In addition, as shown on the cartogram at the top of this story (see here for a larger version), Washington’s adoption of this policy means that a majority of Americans now live in states that don’t disenfranchise anyone who isn’t in prison.
Activists have been pushing similar reforms at the state level across the country in recent years in blue states and red states alike, but Democrats in Congress are pushing to adopt a similar change nationwide as part of H.R. 1, the major voting rights package that passed the House earlier this year.