Bill to immediately restore voting rights for felons moves forward
March 04, 2019 07:13 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexico lawmakers debated whether convicted felons should be allowed to vote after they are released from prison.
Currently, felons are allowed to vote when they complete probation.
“Just because a person makes a mistake, doesn't make them not a citizen, doesn't make them someone who shouldn't raise their voice,” said a person who is in favor of House Bill 57.
People on both sides of the issue spoke during a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
“We oppose as a policy allowing them to vote prior to completing those conditions. We feel like that is something they are subject to while on a sentence is to complete the conditions of probation and parole prior to gaining back that benefit and privilege,” said a woman who opposes the bill.
Some people argued that not allowing felons to vote unfairly disenfranchises Black and Hispanic communities because they are over-represented in prisons.
House Bill 57 creates a mechanism during prison checkout that allows the person who is re-entering society to re-register to vote.
MVD already has a similar program so that those same people can have driving privileges restored.
In the end, the bill passed the panel along party lines.
Democrats agreed to the bill. Republicans voted against it.
Updated: March 04, 2019 07:13 PM
Created: March 04, 2019 06:10 PM
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