What: Poverty Action’s Vote For A Change campaign will host our annual Registration & Restoration Walk in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. Volunteers will register voters and talk to community members about the Voting Rights Restoration Act, which re-enfranchised 400,000 previously incarcerated voters.
When: Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Who: Poverty Action volunteers and board members will be joined by community members who are directly impacted by the historic 2009 legislation. Also expected to drop by is Representative Jeannie Darneille, the prime sponsor of the 2009 legislation.
This Saturday, community members in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood will hear from a group of volunteers and activists about the importance of registering to vote. Beyond the general call for civic participation, the activists are also working to reach families impacted by the criminal justice system in order to educate them about the 2009 Voting Rights Restoration Act. This historic law restored the right to vote to approximately 400,000 previously incarcerated people, who are disproportionately people of color and low-income.
The 2009 law allows people with felony convictions to register to vote once they have completed community supervision. Previously, people with felonies could only register to vote after they had completed their sentence and had paid all of their fines, fees, and restitution (also called Legal Financial Obligations or LFOs). The previous requirement to pay all fines before voting frequently prevented people with low incomes from restoring their right to vote. Despite its importance and its presence on the books for the past three years, many community members still do not know about their increased rights, and have therefore, been left out of critical electoral decisions.