Senator Jim McCune, R-Graham, issued this statement on House Bill 1078, which would restore voting rights for incarcerated individuals as soon as their confinement in a state Department of Corrections facility has ended. The bill passed the Senate 27-22 last night.
“This legislation would allow formerly incarcerated individuals to be able to vote before their debt to society has been completed. Even through proponents argue that if these formerly incarcerated individuals are civically engaged, they are less likely to commit another crime, they aren’t taking into consideration the victims of their crimes – who may never recover. These former criminals must first show that they have the judgment to follow the law. Restoring voting rights should be granted in a way that prioritizes public safety and creates incentives to avoid criminal activity.
“Punishment for a crime in Washington does not automatically end at the prison gate, so we should not restore voting rights for convicted felons until they have completed their sentences, including their period under DOC supervision and paying restitution to victims.”