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1500 Inmates Vote In Mayoral Primary

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

There aren't many places where prisoners can vote, but the District is one of them. This morning, 1500 inmates will cast their votes from D.C.'s jail.

Charles Thornton is with the Re-entry Network, a group that helps people coming out of jail to re-integrate into society. For the past two months, he's been meeting with D.C. inmates, explaining to them that they can vote.

"Successful re-entry starts within the walls, not when you get out. In order to create resources inside the walls you need to exercise every right you have as an inmate, voting is one of them. That's where it begins at," says Thornton.

And Thornton says getting "returning citizens," as he calls them, to vote is a way of creating a constituency out of them that can fight for their interests.

"I would say the biggest obstacles now would be housing, of course, employment, and job training," he says.

And Thornton says the get-out-the vote effort keeps offenders engaged even after they leave prison. Tomorrow, 100 ex-offenders will vote early together in a rally.

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