New AL law restores convicted felons' right to vote

Published: Jul. 8, 2017 at 9:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2017 at 10:23 AM CDT
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SELMA, AL (WSFA) - A new Alabama law signed in May will restore thousands of convicted felons' right to vote.

"The new law lists 47 offenses," said Artur Davis, the executive director of the Legal Services Alabama. "Before, if you looked around the state of Alabama, there were literally hundreds of offenses that somebody was treating as a kind of moral turpitude."

Alabama's Constitution states that individuals convicted of crimes of moral turpitude cannot vote, but it's unclear what constitutes a crime of moral turpitude.

That is left up to the county registrars to decide, however, this new law provides a clear definition of what is and what isn't a crime of moral turpitude.

"The new law outlines what crimes are crimes of moral turpitude," said Randall Marshall, the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. "If you look at that list and your conviction was not one of those you can go down to your registrar, register to vote, and cast your vote."

According to Marshall, moral turpitude consists of offenses that "impugn the moral character of someone."

Those who commit crimes such as murder, rape, sexual abuse, or any other heinous act will still be banned from voting.

Those who have been convicted of a lesser crime such as common driving offenses, receiving stolen property, or drug possession, can still vote. According to Marshall, they can continue to vote while in prison.

"One can continue to vote even while in jail or on parole if they were convicted of a crime that's not on the list," said Marshall.

Training sessions will be held to discuss this new law and how Alabamians can win back their rights to vote.

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