Proposal Would Strip Voting Rights From Convicted Murderers 

Should murderers in prison be allowed to vote? Lawmakers in Augusta are pondering that question.Representative Gary Wright’s proposal would amend Maine’s Constitution and take the right to vote away from folks serving time in Maine prisons for Class A felonies. “I would remind us all that everyone here is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sadly some of those incarcerated eliminated those precious rights from other citizens,” Wright told members of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee who have the initial fate of the measure in their hands. The proposal has drawn criticism from the NAACP, the ACLU of Maine and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Dunlap says it could keep hundreds of people from voting. “First of all, where do you stop once you start restricting the right of certain classes of people from participating in elections? The question emerges in my mind as an administrator, how do we sort out who has the right to vote in prison and who does not? There’s no mechanism. We’d have to develop one,” Dunlap said at a State House press briefing Monday afternoon. Maine and Vermont are the only two states that allows its citizens who are incarcerated for murder vote.This type of bill has been brought up six times before and has been voted down each time.If it makes it out of committee, the next hurdle is a 2/3 majority vote in the Maine House of Representatives.