Per RCW 10.46.140, the right to vote is automatically restored as long as the individual is not serving a sentence of total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.
Restoration of Voting Rights
The Washington State Legislature passed HB 1078, Restoring voter eligibility for all persons convicted of a felony offense who are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, The new legislation took effect January 1, 2022.
If you were convicted of a felony in a Washington State adult court, your right to vote is automatically restored as soon as you are no longer serving a sentence of total confinement under the authority of the Department of Corrections (DOC). This means that once you have completed any required prison sentence, your right to vote has been restored upon release from prison and you will be eligible to register immediately at that time if you are a U.S. citizen, Washington resident, and at least 18 years old by election day. If you were convicted of a felony as an adult in another state or federal court, your right to vote is automatically restored once you are no longer in jail or prison. You will be eligible to register immediately upon release if you are a U.S. citizen and Washington resident.
The Department shall notify a person, in writing, of the process for restoration of voting rights, prior to the release from, or transfer to partial confinement from, total confinement under the jurisdiction of DOC unless a person is being released from a DOC facility to an out-of-state jurisdiction or federal detention center, pursuant to a felony conviction.
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 Administrative Office of the Courts.
- WPF 08.0670 Obtaining a Certificate of Discharge
- Certificate of Discharge/Provisional Voting Rights Forms
- Felony Convictions Voting Rights
Laws & Regulations
- HB 1078 Restoring voter eligibility for all persons convicted of a felony offense who are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
- RCW 9.94A.637 Discharge upon completion of sentence—Certificate of discharge—Issuance, effect of no-contact order—Obligations, counseling after discharge.
- RCW 10.64.140 Loss of voting rights—Acknowledgment. (Effective January 1, 2022.)
- RCW 29A.08.520 Felony conviction—Provisional and permanent restoration of voting rights. (Effective January 1, 2022.)
- RCW 29A.84.660 Unqualified persons voting.
- Administrative Office of the Courts
- Secretary of State (SOS)
- Voting Rights Restoration in Washington State – ACLU Washington (ACLU)