First group of felon voters challenged
05:42 PM PST on Friday, March 18, 2005
SEATTLE – King County is moving swiftly, challenging the voter registration of 99 convicted felons believed to have voted illegally in last November's election.
Friday, some of the voters appeared at a hearing in Seattle.
Auburn lumbermill worker Gilbert Hart got four letters from King County Elections saying his voter registration is being challenged.
"I voted and I'm a convicted felon," he said.
King County felons, 99 so far, were sent letters saying the county is challenging their voter registrations. They were asked to speak at a hearing Friday or submit affidavits.
Only 10 appeared in person.
"Had I known I wasn't supposed to vote, I would not have voted," said Robert Vance.
Those who testified – individuals with prior felony convictions – came to the prosecutor's attention from a list provided by a Seattle Times investigation.
They face being removed from voter registration rolls, but in order to be charged with illegally voting, state law requires that they know it was illegal to do so.
"I don't remember anyone telling me I'm not suppose to vote," said Hart.
"If it wasn't for the close election, I wouldn't be here," said Arthur Woods.
The state Republican Party compiled a list of 1,100 names of questionable voters. Kenneth Mason is on the list, but he says he's still smiling.
"I'm a happy guy, but I'm teed off because I'm loosing my right to vote," he said.
The county says it will soon have another 90 names of voters who face being removed from the registration list.
Next week, King County Elections hopes to have a decision on the voter registration of the 99 felons.
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