Senate Passes Parolee Voting

After tackling the budget, the Senate has given initial approval to a bill that could give parolees that right to vote.

The proposal was sponsored by Sen. Ron Tupa, a Democrat from Boulder, and passed by a vote of 19-16 this morning, with Sen. Lois Tochtrop being the only Democrat to vote against it.

Additionally, an amendment proposed by Republican Sen. Josh Penry to strip the parolee voting provision was defeated by the same margin.According to recent statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union, Colorado is 1 of 5 states where parolees are not allowed to vote while those on probation can.

It is also estimated that a quarter of disfranchised voters are parolees, while half of that number is composed of African-American and Latino individuals.

GOP lawmakers have raised objections over the bill with claims that it is unconstitutional, but the Senate Judiciary committee OK’d the measure after hearing testimony regarding legal ramifications.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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