The Common Council today approved legislation that seeks to restore voting rights for those convicted of a felony charge.
Common Council File # 191090, sponsored by Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, directs the city’s Intergovernmental Relations Division to support 2019 Wisconsin Senate Bill 348, which restores the right to vote to certain persons barred from voting as a result of a felony charge, changes the information required on voter registration forms, and changes voting procedures for certain persons who are convicted of felonies.
Currently, those convicted of a felony charge do not have their right to vote restored until after their sentence has been completed – including extended supervision and parole.
Under the proposed bill, persons convicted of a felony would be eligible to vote upon their release from prison.
Wisconsin Senate Bill 348 also deletes the requirement that an applicant provide any information relating to a felony conviction when registering to vote.
“Whether it is at the city, state or national level, we should always be working to enhance voter rights for the people we serve,” said Alderman Rainey.
“Preventing people convicted of a felony from voting who have served their time disproportionately affects African Americans, particularly in Milwaukee.
“I hope that in the coming months the state Legislature will take action on this bill and during the 2020 elections more people will be granted access to have their voices heard.”
File #191090 was co-sponsored by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis and Alderman Nik Kovac.