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In reversal, some states make it harder for people with felony convictions to vote

The year started out strong for advocates trying to make it easier for people with felony convictions to regain their voting rights.

In March, the Democratic-led legislatures in Minnesota and New Mexico enacted measures that cleared a pathway for residents serving prison time for felonies to regain their right to vote upon being released.

It followed a decade long trend that has allowed more than 1.5 million Americans a chance to cast a vote once again, after being denied the right on parole, probation or because of guidelines that left that decision up to governors.

But in more recent months, state officials in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have taken steps to make it far more difficult for people with felony convictions to register to vote, leading to widespread concern among voting rights activists who have steadily and successfully changed laws in states around the country in recent years.


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