Paul, Reid join on offender voting rights bill

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Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump, Clinton boost Snapchat spending Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Trump gets little backing from Silicon Valley MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidMurphy wins Fla. Senate primary, setting up showdown with Rubio Top Dems push FBI to investigate Trump campaign role in DNC hack No, Tim Kaine is not the most liberal member of Congress MORE (D-Nev.) have revived legislation that would give the right to vote back to some nonviolent criminal offenders.

The Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act would restore voting rights in federal elections to people convicted of nonviolent crimes who are no longer in prison. Under the law, offenders on probation will receive the right to vote after one year.

The law also sets up procedures under which states and the federal prison system are required to notify offenders that they will be allowed to vote. States can lose federal grants for their prison systems if they do not comply with the law.

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“A criminal record is currently one of the biggest impediments to voting in federal elections,” Paul said in a statement. “This is an issue that I feel strongly about, and I will continue to fight for the restoration of voting rights in the hopes of giving non-violent ex-offenders a second chance.”

Paul has emphasized criminal justice issues as he mulls a 2016 presidential campaign that would try to appeal to minority and young voters.

His interest in restoring voting rights to felons has extended to the state level. Last month, he encouraged members of the Kentucky General Assembly to pass a constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to nonviolent felons.

He is also a supporter of reforming the mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes and making changes to the way the justice system handles minors.

The bill's chances are unclear, but some conservatives have reportedly floated the idea of giving felons voting rights while also restoring their right to own guns. 

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