A federal judge turned down an advocacy group’s request that Alabama swiftly reinstate many recently convicted felons’ voting rights and take immediate steps to educate people about the impact of a new state law that restores access to the ballot for tens of thousands of felons. Chief District Judge W. Keith Watkins denied a request for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against the state brought on behalf of 10 Alabama citizens by the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. “Plaintiffs have not met their high burden for obtaining a mandatory preliminary injunction,” Watkins wrote in his Friday opinion. “They have failed to demonstrate that any of the preliminary injunction factors weighs in their favor.”
Danielle Lang, senior legal counsel for voting rights and redistricting at the Campaign Legal Center, said that the organization would continue forward with its pending case against the state, which was initially filed in September 2016.
“[T]his is certainly not the end of the road for the case, which has challenged several aspects of the law,” Lang wrote via email Monday. “This motion/hearing was only about one slice of the case and was preliminary in nature.”
The group’s lawsuit argues that the voting rights of many felons in Alabama are being infringed under a legally vague section of the state Constitution that says that Alabamians convicted of crimes “of moral turpitude” lose the franchise.