Wyoming lawmakers are considering setting up an automatic process to allow some felons to regain their voting rights after they serve their time. The bill would to set up a process to restore voting rights for nonviolent, first-time offenders once they finish serving their sentences, including any probation or parole. Currently, offenders must apply to the state parole board for restoration of voting rights. The Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee is set to consider the issue next week in Newcastle. Bob Lampert, director of the Wyoming Department of Corrections, is set to testify to the committee next week. He said Wednesday he’ll be prepared to answer questions without taking a position on what lawmakers should do.
“The data suggest that people who have their rights restored and engage in the voting process are significantly less likely to come back to prison than those who fail to engage in the voting process,” Lampert said. “So there is some data that suggest that it makes a difference.”
Lampert said felons who are allowed to vote again are more engaged in their community in a positive way.
He also said the Wyoming Legislature has rejected voting rights restoration legislation in the past.