When you’re interacting with the public, sometimes significant events happen. Please send us amusing, uplifting, and fascinating stories about yourself (or someone you work with) as a WAmend volunteer.
Andrea “Dude” Radich
Andrea Radich’s favorite new nickname – as a great grandmother – is “DUDE!” She received it from a young man she met while gathering signatures at Peninsula College in Port Angeles. Like a few others she’d talked with, he’d once been convicted of a felony but had been off parole/supervision for several years. He wanted to sign the petition but told her he couldn’t vote.
Andrea was blown away when she realized she could enable an ex-felon to become a voting citizen – and so was he! “When I told him he could vote, he yelled, ‘Dude!?!” in disbelief,” she remembers. After the student filled out the voter registration form – she always carries some with her, especially when she’s at a college – she had him sign our I-1329 petition. She was careful to mail the voter registration in to her county Board of Elections within 5 days, according to the guidance on the form.
Armed now with legal information from two team members,Terry Coe and Roger Fight, she has actual information to go on: https://wei.sos.wa.gov/agency/osos/en/voters/Pages/felons_and_voting_rights.aspx
Roger’s analysis: “It seems very clear that the onus is on the State to prevent voting by ineligible voters, which they do by checking against a list provided by the Department of Corrections. The clear implication is that if an ex-felon thinks they qualify to vote, all they have to do is fill out a voter registration form like anyone else. Or they can do it online. No special procedure or questions.”
“I wonder why all ex-felons are not told this when they are released from supervision,” says Andrea. “It would save them a lot of shame and embarrassment. Some just walk away, mumbling that they can’t vote. With voter suppression running rampant in the U.S., let’s register all possible voters in our wonderful WA State that allows restoration of precious voting rights – and then get them to sign our petition!”