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How to restore voting rights in Washington

Those who have been convicted of a felony in the state of Washington may lose their right to vote. However, it may be possible to have those rights reinstated if certain conditions are met. For instance, a person may have to pay all fines, court costs and other fees imposed as part of a sentence. It may also be necessary to complete community service, required treatment or probation before regaining the right to vote.

The date of the conviction may play a role in determining how the individual gets back the right to vote. Those who have been convicted prior to July 1984 will need to ask the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board to restore voting rights. If a person was convicted after July 1, 1984, he or she will receive a Certificate of Discharge as soon as the requirements of the sentence have been met.

A Certificate of Discharge may also be granted to those who have completed half of a community supervision term and have completed all other requirements of a sentence. This is only available to those who have not been convicted of a sex or violent crime. If a person is pardoned by the governor of Washington, he or she automatically regains the right to vote in addition to regaining other civil rights that might have been lost.

Anyone who has lost the right to vote because of a felony conviction could be eligible to have voting rights restored. It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who understands the various ways to go about regaining the right to vote. It's also possible to talk directly to the court about completing that process.

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