Ninth Circuit to Inmate Voters: Not So Fast
A few weeks ago, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that Washington State’s felon disenfranchisement law violates the Voting Rights Act (full opinion can be downloaded here), because it has the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising minority voters. (Three other federal circuits have upheld similar laws in other states.) Today, the panel granted Washington’s request to temporarily suspend its ruling, so as to give the state time to appeal to the Supreme Court (stay order can be downloaded here). Basically, the panel agreed not to issue right away a mandate that would have required state and county election officials to immediately begin allowing inmates and felons on community supervision to register and to cast ballots. That means inmates won’t be able to vote in the county special elections currently ongoing throughout Washington State.