Fed judges pause ruling on WA felony inmate voting - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fed judges pause ruling on WA felony inmate voting



















(Washington officials are asking 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)


OLYMPIA, Wash. - A federal appeals court has temporarily stayed its decision that would allow Washington felons to vote from prison.
     
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state's request for the stay on Thursday, while Washington officials ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take their appeal.
     
Earlier this month, the appellate court overturned Washington's felon disenfranchisement law, saying minorities were disproportionately affected. The ruling opened the door for thousands of inmates, as well as those on probation or parole, to vote.
     
Last year, lawmakers passed a law that allows convicted felons to reregister to vote once they're no longer on parole or probation. Previously, felons who were no longer in state custody but owed court-ordered fines and restitution were barred from voting.

Previous Coverage
Wash. to appeal felon vote ruling to Supreme Court

(January 6, 2010)

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.

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