About 20 other states similarly allow parolees to vote. In Washington, offenders haven’t been allowed to vote until they have completed their community supervision with the Department of Corrections, a period that can last up to three years for violent crimes.
Inslee thanked Simmons for her work on the bill.
“As a person who has rebuilt her life following her incarceration, she has so successfully and effectively used her lived experience to the benefit of others and to our community," Inslee said.
Senate Republicans opposed the measure despite support from many quarters, including the state attorney general’s office, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, some victims’ rights advocates and Republican Rep. Jesse Young, who co-sponsored the bill.
Republican senators said former prisoners should complete their sentences — including parole — and show they can follow the law before they regain the right to vote.
Associated Press correspondent Rachel La Corte contributed from Olympia.