Executive - Press Release

Posted on: March 6, 2013

Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act

On behalf of the citizens of New Castle County, Delaware, County Executive Tom Gordon welcomed National NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous to "The First County in the First State."

After paying their debt to society, regaining rights of citizenship that have been lost is valuable to Delaware residents as part of the reentry process. Tom Gordon expressed his support for Delaware House Bill 10 and commends the sponsors and others seeking enactment of this important change in public policy regarding qualifications for voting. It is fitting that this amendment to Delaware's Constitution is known as the Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act.

It is fundamental to our society that every Delaware citizen shall be entitled to vote. In 1964, through Reynolds v. Sims, the U.S. Supreme Court established "One Man, One Vote" as a constitutional principle. Delaware House Bill 10 is aligned with the spirit of this court decision.

Circumstances leading to forfeiture of the right to vote as a punishment for crime should also include a pathway that allows such disqualification to be removed independent of the pardon process. It is expected that this important modification of our Constitution would tend to help reduce recidivism rates.

The SYNOPSIS of House Bill 10 reads as follows: “This Act is the second leg of a Constitutional Amendment which eliminates the existing five-year waiting period before eligible felons who have fully discharged their sentences may have their voting rights restored. This Act shall be known as the Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act.”

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