The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday listed which felony convictions will cause a person to lose voting rights, an issue that’s been the subject of debate, disagreement and at least one lawsuit. The Alabama Constitution dictates that people convicted of felonies involving “moral turpitude” are not able to vote. However, courts and state officials have wrestled with exactly what crimes are crimes of moral turpitude. House members voted 99-1 for the bill that lists 40 offenses that will strip a person of their right to vote. The disqualifying offenses range from capital murder to second-degree theft. A person would not lose voting rights for drug possession.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Jones, said there has been a difference in interpretation of moral turpitude among counties.
“This says here is the definitive list. Everybody has to go by the same list. You can’t make up your own definition of moral turpitude,” Jones, R-Andalusia, said.
Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, said he initially had discomfort with the bill, but said it would do away with confusion. England said people would be able to vote who had previously been blocked in the past for other convictions.