- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Convicted felons in Delaware have one fewer hurdle to jump before having their voting rights restored.

Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday signed a bill that allows felons to vote before they have paid all fines, fees and restitution.

Markell, who included the proposal in his State of the State address in January, says outstanding financial obligations should not prohibit someone from participating in democracy.

Officials say Delaware has been one of only three states requiring felons who have been released from custody to pay outstanding financial obligations before their voting rights are restored.

Three years ago, lawmakers amended the state Constitution to remove a five-year waiting period for restoration of voting rights, but the law still required all financial obligations be met before the rights were restored.

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