In his first trip to Wilmington, Delaware, Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, encouraged state lawmakers to support the Hazel D. Plant Act.
Also known as House Bill 10, the Hazel D. Plant Act is the second leg of the state constitutional amendment regarding voting qualifications.
If passed, the bill would eliminate the five-year waiting period non-violent felons currently have to undergo to have their voting rights restored.
“There is a bi-partisan movement across this country to restore voting to formally incarcerated individuals,” said Jealous. “We’re a country that believes in second chances and quite frankly when somebody comes out of prison and their thinking about voting, that’s exactly the type of behavior that we all have an interest in encouraging.”
In order to be eligible, convicted felons must have discharged their sentences and paid all criminal fines. The bill would still ban violent offenders from voting.
The bill was sponsored earlier this year by state Rep. Helene Keeley.