Washington jails fail to provide voting access, report claims

SEATTLE (AP) — An investigation by a disability rights group found that only a handful of Washington state's 38 county jails have a policy for letting inmates vote and few of those facilities actually follow those procedures.

A report by Disability Rights Washington says the result is that thousands of citizens who have the constitutional right to vote are not able to register, receive ballots or cast a vote.

Unlike prison inmates, whose felony convictions ended their voting rights, most jail inmates are awaiting trial or have been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge, so they still can vote.

The group says jails control all of the information coming into their facilities, so it's up to the jails to inform inmates about how they can register and then cast a ballot.

The lack of voting support disproportionately impacts people with disabilities, since people held in jails are four times more likely to have a disability than the general public.