This article in Bolts is by Khawla Nakua. Here is an excerpt :
Last year, the Washington State legislature allocated $2.5 million for grants to counties wishing to ease ballot access to a group of people who are eligible to vote but routinely unable to do so: people locked inside county jails. Most people in jail have not lost the right to vote because they are held pretrial or because they have a low-level conviction, but they are often denied ballots or even any information they would need to know how to request one.
Yet only five of Washington State’s 39 counties applied for that money, according to the Washington secretary of state’s office. And some local officials who blocked their counties from participating have been open that they don’t want to help people in jail participate in elections even though they remain eligible to vote.
Last September, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton went to the county board of commissioners with her plan to increase voter registration and participation for people incarcerated in the county’s two detention centers. Dalton, the chief local elections official and the only Democrat elected to countywide office in Spokane, said she’d been working with detention staff to improve ballot access in the jails. But Dalton needed the all-Republican board to apply for the newly created state grant to help her office cover the cost of training more jail staff on election procedures, making informational videos to show behind bars, and printing voter guides explaining how to register and ask for ballots while in lockup. (While auditors are their counties’ chief election officials, county commissioners still hold the purse strings and determine budgets.)
Read the full article here.
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