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9th Circuit Court of Appeals Leaves Discriminatory Disfranchisement Law in Place

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Last evening, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a decision in Farrakhan v. Gregoire that leaves a racially discriminatory disfranchisement law in place. LDF argued before the court in September on behalf of African-American, Latino, and Native American plaintiffs who had been denied the right to vote under Washington State’s law, which bars those convicted of felonies from voting. LDF argued against disfranchisement in Washington State due to the presence of racial discrimination in the state’s criminal justice system. As a result of discrimination, minorities in Washington lose their right to vote at a significantly higher rate and for longer periods of time than non-minorities.

“We are disappointed with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, which misreads the broad reach of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and leaves a discriminatory system in place,” said Ryan Haygood who argued the case before the court and is the Co-Director of LDF’s Political Participation Group. The Plaintiffs will consider all available options following the Court's ruling.