Know Your [Voting] Rights

Recently I went out to the Ensign Road RV community to make sure everyone is registered to vote who wants to be and make sure they have no trouble voting before the sweep scheduled for October 27.  

I was reminded that many people are not aware of their rights. Twice yesterday, once on Ensign once while sign-waving, I had a man tell me he had lost his right to vote because he was an ex-felon. They did not know that they had gotten that right back once they were no longer under state-supervised parole of probation.

It makes me wonder how many others don’t know their rights. If you know someone who wants to vote but thinks they can’t, ask why.  If they aren’t a US citizen or are not yet 18, they are right.  But if they have a criminal background, they may be very wrong.

You don’t lose the right to vote if you commit a misdemeanor or are convicted in juvenile court.  You can still vote even in jail in those cases.  

You automatically get your right to vote back once you have served your time if you have a felony conviction.  If you are complying with the terms of a legal financial obligation you have the right to vote even if you still owe the money.

I have also run into people not trusting me to be honest when I tell them they are allowed to vote, so I will include a few official resources.  I got my information from the Thurston County Auditor’s website.

Thurston County Auditor on Voting Rights Restoration

Secretary of State’s Office: Felons and Voting Rights

ACLU of Washington: Voting Rights Restoration FAQ

To register just go to

By Tracey Carlos

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