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Voting Rights Denied in Alabama

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Publication Date: January 2006

Publisher(s): Brennan Center for Justice

Topic: Politics (Elections and voting)

Keywords: Democracy; Voting After Criminal Conviction; Voting Rights & Elections

Type: Report


In September 2003, the Alabama Legislature passed a law intended to streamline the restoration of voting rights to people who have completed their sentences for certain offenses. The law created an expedited process for granting Certificates of Eligibility to Register to Vote to some people with felony convictions. The system was designed to restore the franchise more quickly than is possible through the general clemency process.1
This report documents the failure of that expedited system. The Board of Pardons and Paroles receives thousands of applications each year from people who are doing all they can to regain their voting rights. Faced with overwhelming demand, the Board does not process applications within the statutory time frames. Nor does the Board consistently abide by the requirement that it respond to all applications.