State Sen. Tick Segerblom said Tuesday he was confident that the Legislature next year will pass a bill to restore voting rights to prisoners convicted of violent felonies once they finish their sentences or are discharged from parole. “It is very important in the rehabilitation process,” said the Las Vegas Democrat, who won approval of bill in 2011 to restore voting rights to felonies. His bill, passed on a party-line vote, only to be vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. The governor in his veto message said the right to vote “is a privilege that should not be lightly restored to the few individuals who commit the most egregious crimes in our society.” Segerblom made his comments in response to an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging Nevada and 10 other states to repeal laws banning the restoration of voting rights in part because they disproportionately hurt minorities.
Holder also said these laws prevent the full reintegration of prisoners back into society. He cited a Florida study that released inmates whose voting rights are restored are less likely to commit new crimes.
“It is time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision,” Holder added.
Under a Nevada state law passed in 2003, voting rights are restored immediately to inmates when their sentences are discharged unless they were convicted of class A or class B felonies, any felony involving a crime of violence, a sex offense or two or more felonies.