Sign Up For Our Mailing Lists


InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

Felons Vote in Washington State

Chris Halsne, investigative reporter for KIRO-TV in Seattle, has uncovered a flaw in Washington State’s election system that may let thousands of convicted felons vote. According to Halsne’s investigation, there are 23,927 convicted felons in the state’s active voter database, in spite of the fact the Secretary of State had implemented a new computer system to weed illegal voters out of the system.

But the system was intentionally programmed to ignore a subset of felony conviction data. Felons can only vote if they had met all their court-ordered conditions, for instance paying restitution. They also have to have a judge sign an order restoring their voting rights. The Secretary of State says it is simply too difficult to track which felons have had their voting rights restored and which have not. Of the 23,927 felons in the database, Halsne writes, “6,812 of them are considered ‘very likely voters’ because they already cast a ballot in other elections this year.”

A long-term study by the Washington Department of Corrections shows that about 65 percent of felons fail to pay off all their restitution or finish their court ordered conditions.

Using admittedly simplistic math, if our data shows 6,812 felons voted in primary elections this year, that means 65 percent of them or about 4,400 will illegally cast ballots in November.

If all active voters who also appear to be convicted felons are counted, that’s more than 15,000 questionable votes.

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation has been following this story, too. Their latest Good Government podcast is up.

Posted on 10/24/08 05:40 PM by Alex Adrianson

Heritage FoundationInsiderOnline is a product of The Heritage Foundation.
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE | Washington DC 20002-4999
ph 202.546.4400 | fax 202.546.8328
© 1995 - 2014 The Heritage Foundation