Felon voting rights bill advances

Posted: Wednesday, March 09, 2011

JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill allowing felons the right to vote, despite concerns from one lawmaker.

Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel of Anchorage says her constituents were concerned that the bill would absolve felons of their crimes before they had fully paid their debt to society.

Sen. Bettye Davis, Democrat of Anchorage and bill sponsor, says the proposal would aid felon reintegration into society and cut down on the state’s recidivism rate, which hovers around 66 percent.

Under current regulations, felons must finish their parole before being given the right to vote. The proposed bill would alter this so that felons may register to vote upon leaving prison.

The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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