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Puerto Rico mulls denying inmates voting rights

July 18, 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Legislators in Puerto Rico are debating whether to take away longtime voting rights from inmates in the U.S. territory.

Representative Carlos Vargas Ferrer told reporters Thursday that if the measure is approved, it would apply only to those inmates arrested after that date. He said prisoners should not be involved in politics, and that the proposal would prevent politicians from making empty promises to them.

Several legislators and nonprofit organizations have rejected the proposal, saying it strips inmates of their human rights.

There are currently more than 12,000 inmates in Puerto Rico, which granted them the right to vote in 1980.

Inmate voting rights vary by state in the U.S. mainland.

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