U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made headlines Tuesday by calling on states to repeal laws that keep felons from voting after they’ve finished their sentences. One Arizona Democrat already introduced a related proposal several weeks ago, but it hasn’t seen any action at the Legislature. Although Arizona doesn’t prevent felons from registering to vote after they’ve finished their prison sentences or terms of probation, the right to vote isn’t automatically restored in some cases. When people been convicted of two or more felonies and served their sentence, they have to apply to a judge and have a judge approve the restoration of their right to vote.
Representative Martin Quezada, a Phoenix Democrat, is the lone sponsor of House Bill 2132. The bill would make the right to vote automatically restored for a felon who’s finished his sentence, no matter how many felonies he’s committed.
Attorney General Holder, citing a recent study, said felons in Florida who were granted the right to vote were less likely to go back to prison — perhaps an indication that voting is a part of an ex-con’s reintegration into society.