SB 579A Gives felons voting privileges

VOTE:NO – Died in Committee
Status (overview) of bill:
Committee assigned to bill:

This bill allows convicted felons, while in prison, to be able to register and vote while incarcerated.

A person who has been lawfully convicted of a felony has forfeited their right to vote according to the Oregon Constitution, Article 2 Section 3, passed in 1944. Voters added “unless otherwise provided by law,” however, voters didn’t really have a choice.

The proposal to prohibit felons from voting was lumped with those incompetent to vote. The majority of felons are in prison due to a lack of competency and no civil responsibility or respect.

Prison is a time of rehabilitation, to gain and learn what civil responsibility means.

The bill also allows registration at the last address lived at, which can cause multiple unrelated people registered at one address and interfere with voter roll cleanup efforts.

In many states felons are not able to vote even after being released from prison. This is an issue for voters, not for a committee that is biased because they proposed the bill.

The deeper question is, should our criminal justice system focus on victims and their rights, or the rights of those that have been convicted of felonious assault, rape, murder or other violent acts? Or, more succinctly, should we focus on justice, or misplaced compassion?

Amended to delay implementation date until June 1, 2026.

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