Bill Would Allow Texas County Jail Inmates to Vote

A Texas State Representative has filed a bill which would allow inmates of the state's 254 county jails to vote while they are behind bars, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports

."Why don't we just create jails as voting precincts," said State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) "Those who are eligible to vote can vote on the day of the election."

Dutton points out that Texas law bars people 'convicted of a felony' from voting.  He says about two thirds of inmates in Texas county jails are there because they can't post bond, and have never been convicted of anything, and it is unfair to strip them of their rights.

"I think if an inmate decided to challenge that on the basis of the law, I have a sneaking suspicions that the court would side with the inmate," Dutton told News Radio 1200 WOAI.

The reaon people who are in jail don't vote now is only because they are in custody, not because of any law that bars them from voting.

He says the 2019 Legislature, which is looking at various measures to undo the criminal justice excesses of the 1990s, is 'smarter' than previous sessions, and he thinks is more likely to look favorably at this legislation.

IMAGE: GETTY

title

Content Goes Here