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9th Circuit to Rehear Felon Voting Rights Case

(CN) - The 9th Circuit voted to rehear a lawsuit challenging a Washington state law barring convicted felons from voting. A group of felons say the law disproportionately impacts minorities.

A three-judge panel has twice reversed a lower court's ruling for the state.

"Plaintiffs have demonstrated that the discriminatory impact of Washington's felon disenfranchisement is attributable to discrimination in Washington's criminal justice system," Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote for the 2-1 majority in January.

Judge Margaret McKeown wrote the dissenting opinion, saying there's no "analytical distinction" between vote denial and vote dilution cases. She said felon disenfranchisement challenges are not a "comfortable fit" with the Voting Rights Act.

The 9th Circuit voted last week to rehear the case before an 11-judge panel.

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