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The 32,000 workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW thank the Washington State Legislature and Governor Jay Inslee for ensuring our state now joins 19 others in automatically restoring voting rights to citizens convicted of a felony upon their release.

“By passing House Bill 1078, Washington has recognized that denial of voting rights is deeply embedded in racism and discrimination. This is one more step towards fulfilling the promise of a multiracial democracy in our State and in our country,” says Jane Hopkins, Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “Those who’ve come before us – particularly our BIPOC elders – have fought and died for voting rights. Today, we honor their sacrifices by removing this barrier to the right to vote.”

Restrictive policies around voting are not just in our collective past: they are on the forefront of many states’ agendas today.

This year, more than 40 states have introduced legislation to roll back voting rights, through purging of voter rolls, elimination of early voting, poll closures, removal of ballot drop boxes, limits on mail-in voting, burdensome voter identification requirements and much more.

These blatant voter suppression policies erode our civil rights and perpetuate racial injustice across our country, to all of our detriment. Our democracy is strong only when the right to vote is protected. And our union is only as strong as our democracy. From Automatic Voter Registration to mail-in voting, we’re proud that Washington continues to lead the country in expanding access to the ballot.

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