Most of the inmates being held in King County Jail are actually eligible to vote – although many of them do not know it. Defense attorneys, advocates and election officials are reaching out to eligible inmates to help them have a voice in this year’s elections.
Most of us know that our digital communications face a number of threats these days – from data breaches and hacks, to public and private surveillance. These risks also threaten the confidentiality of attorney-client relationships. The ACLU of New York has written a report that outlines steps that can be taken by parties to protect that privacy, and rules that can ensure ongoing protection.
The Washington State office of the ACLU has posted helpful “Can I Vote?” flowcharts to help people with criminal convictions figure out if they are eligible to vote. The flowcharts are written in seven languages–English, Chinese, Korean, Oromo, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese. A person convicted as an adult of a felony in Washington State loses their right to vote and is also ineligible if they are serving a sentence for any felony conviction from another State or federal court. The right to vote is automatically restored once the person is no longer under the supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections. Read the English language version of the “Can I Vote?” flowchart here.
K & L Gates has founded a pro bono project to help victims of “revenge porn” or nonconsensual pornography defend their “cyber” civil rights. Assistance is available to victims both within the United States and abroad. To contact the Cyber Civil Rights Project and K & L Gates, use this link. For more information about cyber civil rights, see the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative’s web site.
King County government has recently released a poster supporting the motivation behind the County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2022. As described by the County, the Strategic Plan “is a blueprint for action and change that will guide our pro-equity policy direction, our decision-making, planning, operations and services, and our workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities.” You can download a copy of this poster here.
President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In his first budget proposal released Thursday, Trump is cutting discretionary spending to pay for an increase in defense spending and the wall on the Mexican border, the Washington Post reports.
The LSC is among 19 agencies in line for total elimination of funding. Others agencies to be cut include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Post and USA Today.
The American Bar Association is “outraged” that the Trump administration is calling to eliminate funding for the LSC and is calling upon members of Congress to restore it, ABA President Linda Klein said in a statement Thursday. Klein noted that LSC offices are in every congressional district and help 1.9 million people annually.
“Some of the worthy services the LSC provides include securing housing for veterans, protecting seniors from scams, delivering legal services to rural areas, protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping disaster survivors,” Klein wrote. “More than 30 cost-benefit studies all show that legal aid delivers far more in benefits than it costs,” Klein wrote. “If veterans become homeless, or disaster victims cannot rebuild, their costs to society are significantly more.”
Also supporting the LSC are the heads of more than 150 U.S. law firms, who told Trump in a letter that eliminating funding would hamper their ability to provide pro bono representation because they partner with legal aid groups receiving LSC funding.
“Eliminating the Legal Services Corp. will not only imperil the ability of civil legal aid organizations to serve Americans in need, it will also vastly diminish the private bar’s capacity to help these individuals,” the letter stated. “The pro bono activity facilitated by LSC funding is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the government should encourage, not eliminate.”
The LSC requested $502 million for fiscal year 2017 and received $385 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2016.
LSC President Jim Sandman remained optimistic about the outlook for the LSC in an interview with Bloomberg Big Law Business. He said he expected Congress to ignore Trump’s proposal and to grant the full $502 million funding request.
“We represent a fundamental American value—equal justice,” Sandman told Bloomberg. “That’s a value as old as the republic itself. Congress understands that.”
In an attempt to save the LSC, the American Bar Association is launching a grassroots campaign to engage constituents around the country to fight to save the LSC. Here is how it works:
- Go to www.DefendLegalAid.org to register as Legal Aid Defenders and show your support for legal aid organizations.
- Create a short message for our Members of Congress and submit your contact information to create a Legal Aid Defender card. The cards can be personalized by submitting a photo.
- The ABA will print and hand-deliver every card to members of Congress (three cards for each participant – a House Member and two Senators).
- The cards will be delivered by state delegations during ABA Day in Washington (April 25th – April 27th).
The King County Law Library is a proud provider of free legal aid services, as well as a partner with several pro bono legal aid organizations in King County. Eliminating funding for the LSC will have a direct impact on our ability to continue offering legal aid services. Please consider defending the funding of LSC. For more information about how you can help legal aid in addition to becoming a Legal Aid Defender, please go to www.HelpLegalAid.org.
Read the original version of this article here.
- If you were convicted of a felony in a Washington State court, your right to vote is restored automatically once you are no longer under the authority of DOC (in prison or on community custody). If you have questions about your status with DOC, call at (800) 430-9674.
- If you were convicted of a felony in another state or in federal court, your right to vote is restored automatically as long as you are not currently incarcerated for that felony.
- You do not lose the right to vote for a misdemeanor conviction or a conviction in juvenile court.
- You do not need a certificate of discharge (COD) to have your voting rights restored.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington has also updated their information on the restoration of voting rights for those that have been convicted of felonies as an adult. The page includes answers to many important questions such as:
- How do convictions affect my right to vote?
- How do I know when I’m eligible to have my rights restored?
- Do I need to re-register to vote?
- Who should I contact if I run into difficulty?
Voting is critically important in a democracy and everyone who has the right should have their voice heard. You can register to vote at the King County Law Library.