Alabama lawmakers have finally composed a list of crimes that prevent felons from being able to vote. Crimes defined as “moral turpitude” have been defined. One of the types of convictions that aren’t on that list is drug possession – including marijuana possession convictions.
There are 46 felonies on the new list and it includes drug trafficking, but not possession, The Cullman Times reports. Governor Kay Ivey signed the measure into law. There is no more confusion for felons as it’s clearly laid out who can vote and who can’t.
Reverend Kenneth Glasgow said, “It’s like a step toward freedom after years of waiting. It’s giving people their citizenship back.”
The previous law only said those committing crimes of “moral turpitude” were not permitted to vote. That was written and adopted in 1901; however, no actual crimes were listed. The law’s interpretation varied greatly from county to county across Alabama.
Even those convicted of marijuana possession, and served their sentence, were still prohibited from voting in elections. One Dothan resident tried to vote in 2014 and had a decade old marijuana possession conviction, but was refused. She voted just two years prior.
The state’s secretary of state had to clear that up and tell the registrars that personal use marijuana possession was not a crime of “moral turpitude” and should not restrict a person from voting.
Those with felonies can apply, in Alabama, to have voting rights restored. Court fees and fines must be paid in full in order to be considered for restoration.
Glasgow said, “You really don’t have citizenship until you have your voting rights.”
He also said, “I am going across this state and make sure each and every person who has a felony – that is not on the list – that they are registered to vote.”