The state Senate Thursday passed the first leg of a constitutional amendment that would allow eligible felons to vote after completing their sentences instead of having to wait for an additional five years. House Bill 9 would eliminate a five-year waiting period that eligible felons who have fully discharged their sentences must endure before they can have their voting rights restored.
The bill would nix “five years” from a section of the Delaware Constitution. The bill does not change existing exemptions in the state constitution preventing a person from regaining their voting rights. Persons convicted of crimes such as murder, manslaughter, felony sex offenses or felony crimes against public administration, such as bribery, still would not be able to have their voting rights restored. An identical version of the bill must pass in the 147th General Assembly, which would begin in January 2013, for the constitutional change to take effect.