ACLU Sues Over Felon Disenfranchisement in Alabama
Good for the ACLU (again):
The American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama elections officials Monday over what it says is an overly expansive policy disenfranchising felons, amid concern from voting rights groups nationwide that voting lists are being culled with too great alacrity by many states.
Alabama bars felons from voting only if they've been convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude.” According to the ACLU, the state legislature limited that fuzzy phrase to specific crimes: “murder, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, incest, sexual torture and nine other crimes mainly involving pornography and abuses against children.” Alabama's attorney general, Troy King, has expanded the legislature's list to include about a dozen more (mostly nonviolent) crimes, including the distribution of marijuana. The ACLU takes the sensible position that it's the responsibility of the legislature, not the attorney general, to make the law. [more …]
State election officials appear to be going beyond even the attorney general’s list. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Annette McWashington Pruitt, a 48-year-old Birmingham resident, was turned away because of her 2003 conviction for receiving stolen property, her lawyers say.
The suit asks a state court judge to stop Alabama election officials from turning away any voter with a felony conviction not on the Legislature’s moral turpitude list.
We last heard from Alabama's arrogant AG here. This post tells you more about Troy King's deficient sense of justice.
Troy King is not alone in his attempt to disenfranchise as many people as he can.
Voting rights groups are especially watchful this year because under a 2002 federal law, states are now coordinating lists to find felons and people who have died or moved, allowing easy — rights groups say too easy — purging of voters. …
Elsewhere in the South, the voting rights group Project Vote has been expressing concern over what it sees as undue purging of voters in Louisiana, without notification, before this year’s election.
States do the nation no favors by disenfranchising offenders who have paid for their mistakes and who want to live responsible lives. As Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, reminds us:
“It’s in the larger interest of the general public to rehabilitate people. It’s one of the things that rehabilitates people, participating in the political process.”