I can’t tell you how many times I have opened up about my past involvement with the criminal legal system and heard the response, “I never would have guessed.”
As a society, we have normalized the harmful belief that system-impacted people, like me, are different, bad or deserve to have our rights – like the right to vote – stripped away. While I was on community supervision, I was working full time, going to college full time and paying taxes. Despite all that, I still felt ostracized because I had no say in the policy decisions that affected my daily life. When my voting rights were restored, l felt a sense of belonging to my community again.
Our society is safest and our democracy is strongest when everybody belongs and every voice counts. Today, more than 20,000 Washingtonians are denied the right to participate in our democracy.
I urge The Daily News readers to support House Bill 1078, which would return the fundamental right to vote to our friends and neighbors living in our communities.