HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – State Representative Joe Webster of Montgomery County plans to introduce legislation to help people coming out of prison register to vote.
For Webster, increasing voter registration for people leaving prison started with a visit to a prison.
“I visited SCI Phoenix in my district at the time,” said Democratic Representative Joe Webster.
He spoke to incarcerated men and women.
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“They didn’t realize that when they serve their term and are being released, many of their rights and privileges come back to them and voting is an important part of that,” said Webster.
The legislation would require a registration form to be given during the exit process. Formerly incarcerated citizens can either fill out the form or decline.
“This would simply put one more form in the mix so they would know and have the opportunity to register to vote right then and there,” said Webster.
“By voting, they can know more about what’s happening at their local level, the local politicians, and the national level,” said John Hargreaves, Director of Volunteer Services with The Pennsylvania Prison Society.
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Hargreaves says getting people involved in their community and government could help keep them out of prison.
“About 60% of people end up being arrested within three years once they’re released from prison,” said Hargreaves. “We need to, got to get that down.”
abc27 reached out to House Republicans but did not hear back.