With a 15-6 vote, Delaware’s Senate passed landmark legislation that would restore voting rights to certain non-violent felons who have completed their sentences. House Bill 10, sponsored by Rep. Helene M. Keeley, D-Wilmington South, a two-year constitutional amendment, would amend the state constitution by eliminating the standard five-year waiting period before felons are restored voting rights. The bill would not apply to individuals who have been convicted of crimes such as murder, felony sex offenses or felony crimes against public administration, such as bribery.
“This means that Delaware now is helping to take the lead in states actually expanding access to the voting booth,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP. “So many states across the country are suppressing the right to vote. This state is doing something different.”
Mr. Jealous said this legislation signifies a positive trend for the state, now joining Iowa and Virginia, in allowing formerly convicted felons to vote.
Sen. Colin R. J. Bonini, R-Dover South, stood firm in his stance that a waiting period to vote is appropriate, which still allows the individuals to re-adjust back to society.
“I thought five years was a reasonable waiting period,” he said. “I don’t see a particular reason to change that.”
Full Article: Senate approves felon voting rights legislation.