Dangerous Felons Allowed to Vote? Hearing Coming Tuesday 10-22
Washington State Senate Republicans are spreading the word about a potentially growing movement in the State Legislature, involving allowing dangerous felons the right to vote. These are not felons who have served time and are 'free' citizens, but those how are incarcerated and/or still under DOC supervision, and considered to be a genuine threat to citizens--especially sex offenders.
Straight from the Secretary of State's voter information page, here is the current policy for felons:
"If you were convicted of a felony in Washington State, your right to vote is restored as long as you are not under the authority (in prison or on community custody) of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Once your right is restored, you must re-register to vote in order to receive a ballot."
However, according to Tracy Ellis, Radio and Media Coordinator for the Washington State Republican Senate Caucus, this hearing has to do with allowing felons who are currently incarcerated, under supervision or are deemed to be 'dangerous' threats to the community to vote.
The example listed by Ellis was about a suspect we reported on here in Tri-Cities. Ronald Clayton is a Level III sex offender who was released from prison October 5th, then cut off his monitoring bracelet in direct violation of his DOC (Department of Corrections) supervision. If some groups who are pushing this policy get their way, individuals like Clayton would be given the right to vote. He was the subject of a statewide manhunt.
The hearing, which is before a Senate committee in Kent, WA, will take place Tuesday morning. Ellis says it's likely this subject and proposal will also come before the State Legislature in January. Some groups are advocating for felons who meet the non-voting criteria listed by the Secretary of State to be allowed to vote--by changing the laws.
We will update with more information about what transpires during this informational gathering and public comment hearing.