House rejects bill to ease voting restrictions for felons
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have refused to give felons the right to vote as soon as they exit prison.
Rep. Pat Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat, proposed to let convicted felons register to vote while they are on parole, probation or suspended sentences - but out of jail. Currently, felons have to wait until they finish probation or parole.
Supporters say giving people back their voting rights helps to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society.
Smith described a man who holds a job, pays taxes but can't vote because he's been on probation for 20 years.
Opponents were reticent about immediately restoring voting rights without time elapsing from the prison sentence.
Only 37 lawmakers voted for the bill. Sixty voted against it.