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Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Old 01-07-10, 02:03 PM
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Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...voting07m.html

State plans to appeal ruling on felon vote
By Jonathan Martin

Seattle Times staff reporter

Washington state will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a surprising federal-court ruling that tossed out the state's 120-year-old prohibition against voting by incarcerated felons, Attorney General Rob McKenna said Wednesday.

The ruling, handed down Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, found that Washington's criminal-justice system was so "infected" with racial discrimination that a ban on felon voting violated civil-rights protections.

The state hoped to have the case heard during the U.S. Supreme Court's fall session, McKenna told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Meanwhile, the state also plans to file by next week a motion to stall enactment of the court ruling. McKenna said courts routinely grant such motions if a case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruling involved a 1996 lawsuit filed by a group of black, Latino and Native American prison inmates who were disenfranchised because of felony convictions.

Plaintiff's attorneys relied on research by University of Washington sociologists that found large disparities in arrest and conviction data between minorities and whites. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans make up 12 percent of the state's population but account for 36 percent of Washington's prison inmates.

If upheld, the ruling would allow Washington's 18,500 prison inmates and 19,000 felons under Department of Corrections community supervision to vote. Currently, felons cannot vote until they've completed their prison terms and supervision.

Secretary of State Sam Reed said county-election officials called him Wednesday morning, anxious about the mechanics of handling ballots sent in from prisons.

"It would be fairly difficult for counties to implement this quickly," he said. "We would need time to fully implement this in a thoughtful manner."

McKenna, who said he will try the case himself if it is accepted by the Supreme Court, disputed the court's interpretation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

That act, passed to remedy pervasive discrimination, requires the "totality of the circumstances of the local electoral process" be examined in order to decide whether a violation has occurred. McKenna said the court ruling did not take into account the "totality of circumstances" in Washington, including voting rates by minority voters.

McKenna, who left shortly after the news conference for a trip to Israel with other attorneys general, said he expected strong support from other states.

Three other federal appeals courts have ruled opposite to the 9th Circuit ruling, McKenna said. "It's time for the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve this split between the circuits."
Ugh.

Last edited by superdeluxe; 01-07-10 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 01-07-10, 02:05 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Cue the 9th Circuit comments.....
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Old 01-07-10, 02:10 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
Cue the 9th Circuit comments.....
Judge Reinhardt is part of the majority....I should have known.

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastor...5/06-35669.pdf

Last edited by Red Dog; 01-07-10 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 01-07-10, 02:19 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

I wonder if that same court would rule that the government can't deny incarcerated folks their Social Security checks?
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Old 01-07-10, 03:11 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
I wonder if that same court would rule that the government can't deny incarcerated folks their Social Security checks?
A bit ironic considering the recent Vegas shooter. Guy was convicted of murder, did his time, then years later, got mad at the SSA for cutting his check and killed a security guard.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-a...,7313770.story
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Old 01-07-10, 03:35 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Now we'll never get rid of the Democrats in office.
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Old 01-07-10, 06:33 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
A bit ironic considering the recent Vegas shooter. Guy was convicted of murder, did his time, then years later, got mad at the SSA for cutting his check and killed a security guard.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-a...,7313770.story
1. He was on SSI as he had not paid in enough quarters to receive a standard SS check.

2. He moved from California to Nevada.

3. Nevada gives out less for an SSI check than California does.

I don't think he thought his cunning plan all the way through. He also didn't have his SSI check reduced because he was a felon, which you would know if you read the article.
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Old 01-12-10, 03:57 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Why are you guys so hard on felons?
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Old 01-13-10, 09:36 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
Why are you guys so hard on felons?
To be honest, I think that many felons get a bad rap. There are a whole lot of things you can do to become a felon. Some of our best friends are convicted felons (I am not joking).
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Old 01-13-10, 09:56 PM
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Re: Appeals Court allows felons in Washington to vote

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
Why are you guys so hard on felons?
It's all that gellin' that they do.
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