Wash. to appeal felon vote ruling to Supreme Court - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. to appeal felon vote ruling to Supreme Court

Attorney General Rob McKenna Attorney General Rob McKenna

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court's decision that would give Washington state felons in prison and on community supervision the right to vote.
     
McKenna and Reed announced their decision Wednesday. The appeal has to be filed with the court by April, and the state will seek a stay on felony inmates' ability to vote until the case is resolved.
     
Tuesday's 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 2000 ruling of a district judge in Spokane. The appeals court says Washington state's felon disenfranchisement law violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Previous Coverage
Fed Judges: Wash. felony inmates should get vote

A federal appeals court has ruled that imprisoned felons should be allowed to vote in Washington to ensure that racial minorities are protected under the Voting Rights Act.
     
Tuesday's 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 2000 ruling of a district judge in Spokane. That judge had ruled that state law did not violate the act, and dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former prison inmate from Bellevue.
     
The two appellate judges ruled that disparities in the state's justice system "cannot be explained in race-neutral ways."
     
A spokeswoman says state Attorney General Rob McKenna is weighing the state's next step.

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