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Washington State AG files appeal over felon voting ban

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September 20, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

OLYMPIA, Washington: Attorney General Rob McKenna will argue to a larger panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on September 22, 2010, to reverse a previous decision from a three-judge panel that struck down the state's ban on voting by convicted felons[1].

McKenna will argue the case in front of a 11 judge en-banc panel after a three judge panel ruled in January 2010 by a 2-1 decision to strike down the ban. The three judge panel found that Washington State's felon voting ban was a violation of The Voting Rights Act of 1965. The lawsuit is a 14 year-old case brought up by four inmates who cited they were disenfranchised of their rights to the vote[1].

Shortly after the decision, the San Francisco-based appeals court vacated the January 2010 ruling and granted the Washington State a re-hearing in front of a en-banc panel. Attorney General McKenna will argue that Washington State's ban on allowing felons to vote is consistent with similar laws in 48 other states. McKenna will also argue that past precedent in federal court upheld other states felon voting bans in 2005, 2006, and 2009. Those cases upheld bans in Massachusetts, New York State, and Florida[1].

No date has been set on when a ruling will be released by the 11 judge panel[1].

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