New York Law School

Archive for January, 2010

Federal Appeals Court Rules Washington Voting Law Violates Federal Voting Rights Act

On January 5, 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted summary judgment to a minority group of Washington citizens who had been convicted of felonies and alleged that the state’s felon disenfranchisement provision violates §2 of the Voting Rights Act due to racial discrimination within Washington’s criminal justice system. The case is entitled Farrakhan v. Gregoire, 590 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2010).

The law as set forth in Washington’s constitution reads as follows: Article VI, § 3 provides: “All persons convicted of infamous crime unless restored to their civil rights . . . are excluded from the elective franchise.” An “infamous crime” is defined as one that is “punishable by death in the state penitentiary or imprisonment in a state correctional facility.” Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.04.079. Read more