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Please contact fence-sitting Senators about Voting Rights Restoration

FCWPP Alert! – Contact Senators whose vote on Voting Rights Restoration is uncertain

HB 1517, the voting rights restoration bill — having passed the House — is now in the Senate. We thank all of you who contacted the Senate Leadership asking that the bill be approved for a floor vote. Assuming it does make it to the floor for a vote, we need to be ready with enough votes for it to pass.

It is crucial for passage in the Senate for constituents to contact Senators whose expected vote on voting rights restoration is uncertain and seek to convince them to support HB 1517. If you live in the district of one of the following Senators, your call or email is especially needed:

Sen. Chris Marr (D-6) Sen. Paull Shin (D-21) Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-23) Sen. Rosa Franklin (D-29) Sen. Jean Berkey (D-38) Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40) Sen. Fred Jarrett(D-41) Sen. Randi Becker (R-2) Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5) Sen. Jerome Delvin (R-8) Sen. Curtis King (R-14) Sen. Dan Swecker (R-20) Sen. Dale Brandland (R-42)

(360) 786-7610 (360) 786-7640

(360) 786-7644 (360) 786-7656

(360) 786-7674 (360) 786-7678

(360) 786-7641 (360) 786-7602 (360) 786-7608

(360) 786-7614 (360) 786-7626 (360) 786-7638

(360) 786-7682

If possible, speak from personal experience. But you might mention that most states including Oregon and California automatically restore voting rights to ex-felons. You can point out that the current requirement in Washington State that all Legal Financial Obligations must be paid before registering to vote is discriminatory against persons with less resources — including most ex-prisoners who are struggling to get housing and a job — and is thus akin to the discredited poll tax. The right to vote in a democracy should not be dependent on the payment of monetary debts.

The Secretary of State supports this bill because it would replace the current muddle with a clear bright line as to who is eligible to vote. Voting rights are significant in restoring ex-prisoners’ belief that they have a stake in a democratic society — an important step in becoming productive citizens and not returning to prison.

One more thing — could you let me know (at ) when you call or email your senator? I’d like to keep track of who is being contacted.

Thanks for all your help!Sam Merrill, Clerk, Legislative Committee Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy

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