In Connecticut, the voting rights of 4,000 former incarcerated citizens were restored when Governor Ned Lamont signed the state’s new two-year budget into law this week.
The restoration of voting rights affects any citizen with a felony conviction who has served their time in prison and returned to the community, regardless of their parole status.
Lamont’s move drew praise from singer and voting rights advocate, John Legend, on social media.
Thank you, John. The right to vote is fundamental to any healthy democracy and I hope people from Connecticut all the way to California see that and join us. https://t.co/NWHdgL4F9o— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) June 24, 2021
Phil Kent is with CONECT, an interfaith advocacy group. He said restoring voting rights is good for society.
“As more and more people do that, as they get their rights back, I think that’s good not only for that individual and for their families but for the entire state,” Kent said.
The provision was attached to an omnibus elections bill that passed in the Senate during the regular session but failed to advance in the House. It was revived by Democrats and attached to a budget implementer bill that was approved in a special session last week.
Connecticut now joins every other state in the Northeast that allows convicted felons who have served their time to vote. Maine and Vermont allow citizens who are incarcerated to vote.