A House bill that allows some convicted felons while serving probation and parole to get their voting privileges back cleared the Senate and Governmental Affairs committee today.

The bill restores voting rights five years after he or she is released from prison. Bruce Riley is the Deputy Director of “Voice of the Experienced,” a pro voting rights organization.
“The constitution guarantees the right to vote for all citizens of Louisiana over 18, and then allows for the possibility… it says, ‘it may suspend the voting rights of people who are under an order of imprisonment,’” Riley said.
Current law says felons must complete probation and parole, before they are able to vote. Checo Yancy is the executive director of “Voters Organized to Educate” who still cannot vote.

“I’ve been out of prison for 15 years. I can pay my taxes, I can bring my wife to vote, but I can’t even go in the voting polls,” Yancy said.

Jonesboro Senator Jim Fannin was in staunch opposition to the bill, saying losing your voting privilege when you are convicted of a crime is a deterrent.

“One of the greatest privileges that Americans have is the right to vote. Society has long deemed that to have that to have that privilege you have to meet certain criteria,” Fannin said.

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