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Voting Rights

Per RCW 10.46.140, when a person is convicted of a felony, the court shall require the defendant to sign a statement acknowledging that the defendant's right to vote has been lost due to a felony conviction. If the defendant is registered to vote, the voter registration will be canceled.

Voting rights can be provisionally and/or permanently restored after the defendent is no longer under the custody of the Department of Corrections.

Restoration of Voting Rights

Provisional Restoration of Voting Rights

The right to vote is provisionally restored as long as the defendant is not under the authority of the Department of Corrections, however, the provisional right to vote may be revoked if the defendant fails to comply with all terms of his or her legal financial obligations or an agreement for the payment of legal financial obligations.

A person is under the authority of the Department of Corrections if the person is serving a sentence of confinement in the custody of the Department, or is subject to community custody as defined in RCW 9.94A.03.

Permanent Restoration of Voting Rights

The right to vote may be permanently restored by one of the following for each felony conviction:

  • A certificate of discharge issued by the sentencing court, as provided in RCW 9.94A.637;
  • A court order issued by the sentencing court restoring the right, as provided in RCW 9.92.066;
  • A final order of discharge issued by the indeterminate sentence review board, as provided in RCW 9.96.050;
  • A certificate of restoration issued by the governor, as provided in RCW 9.96.020;

Voting before the right is restored is a class C felony under RCW 29A.84.660.

Certificate of Discharge

Per RCW 9.94A.637, when an individual has completed all requirements of the sentence, including any and all legal financial obligations, and while under the custody and supervision of the Department, the secretary or secretary's designee shall notify the sentencing court, which shall discharge the individual and provide them with a certificate of discharge by issuing the certificate in person or by mailing it to their last known address.

Individuals should work with the sentencing court, prosecutor, and county clerk to obtain a Certificate of Discharge. The instructions and forms to be used by an individual to petition the court for a Certificate of Discharge can be found at the Office of the Administrator of the Courts.