Senate approves prison voting bill

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill that would end the practice of counting inmates at the state prison in Cranston as residents during redistricting.

The bill approved Tuesday requires that inmates be counted as residents of the communities where they lived before their incarceration for the purposes of the census and redrawing voter boundaries. Under state law, inmates are considered residents at their last address for voting purposes.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Cranston over its 2012 redistricting plan, which counts the 3,400 inmates at the Adult Correctional Institutions as residents. The group says the so-called prison gerrymandering artificially inflates the Ward 6 population and skews voting power.

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s spokesman says the House has no plans to take up the bill. Mattiello opposes it.

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