OLYMPIA — Voter registration drives may as well skip the state prisons for now. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary hold on its order that felons should be able to vote in Washington, even if they are in prison.
The Appeals Court today granted a request for a stay from state officials while Washington asks the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case. The Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will grant certiorari.
Earlier this month, the Appeals Court ruled 2-1 that the disproportionate number of minorities in prison in Washington amounts to automatic disenfranchisement and violates the federal Voting Rights Act. State officials were quick to say they would appeal, and most other states, which also bar convicted felons from voting unless they get their rights restored, are watching the case closely.
The stay lasts until the Supreme Court either hears the case and rules, or two weeks after it says it won’t consider the case.