Rand Paul pushing bill to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons


Sen. Rand Paul plans to introduce the bill this week. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants to restore voting rights to people convicted of nonviolent felonies, he said Sunday, previewing a bill he plans to introduce this week.

"I have a friend whose brother grew marijuana plants 30 years ago in college, has a felony conviction and still cannot vote," Paul said on CNN's "State of the Union." He added: "I think that's wrong and unfair."

Paul said preventing nonviolent felons from voting is a larger problem than the battle over voter ID laws. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to limit voting access through such laws.

"Republicans, I think, have been unfairly tarred as, oh, trying to suppress vote," Paul said. "Here's a Republican who wants to enhance the vote. This is a much bigger problem than anything else limiting voting right now. Nearly a million people can't vote. And I want to help people get their right to vote back."

He said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that his forthcoming bill "would allow somewhere between a half-a-million people to a million people to get the right to vote back."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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