By Rep. Jeannie Darneille and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

Two people are released from prison. One of them is from a well-to-do family, which immediately sets him up in a job with a six-figure salary. On Election Day, he watches eagerly to see if the candidates he voted for are elected.

The other person isn’t so fortunate. He had little money when he was convicted, and the best job he can land is low-paying. He can’t pay off all of the fines associated with his sentence. On Election Day, he is just a spectator. He’s been prohibited from voting.

It flies in the face of American values that when two people are released from prison, only the one with enough money is permitted to vote. As Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander has said, it’s a modern version of the poll tax. But that’s how it is here in Washington.