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Nebraska bill would restore felons' voting rights sooner

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 13:12:20-05

Advocates for felons say Nebraska should restore voting rights immediately after they complete their sentences.

About 20 people spoke Wednesday at a legislative committee hearing on a bill sponsored by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha that would give felons the right to vote once they complete their sentences, including prison time and parole.

Nebraska in 2005 began allowing felons to vote two years after they finish their sentences. Sponsors of that measure say the two-year timespan was a political compromise a decade ago and was meant as a stepping stone.

Advocates say restoring voting rights will help felons integrate into society and reduce recidivism rates.

The bill had no opposition. Wayne says he intends to designate it as his priority, increasing the odds lawmakers will debate it this year.