A new Alabama law now allows some convicted felons to earn back the right to vote. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed he bill into law in May, reversing the more than century-old rule. While state lawmakers could not decide how to spend nearly $1 billion on prison reform, they could all agree on one thing. After 116 years, Alabama lawmakers decided it was time to let several criminals have a second chance to make their voices heard. The defining, unanimous push behind state Sen. Mike Jones’ (R-AL, District 92) bill ultimately changed a law dating back to 1901. Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-AL, District 80) says the new law specifically lists more than 40 felonies that would automatically strip criminals of voting rights.
“Look at the constitution of 1901, there really was not a definition of moral turpitude,” Blackshear explained about what constituted the loss of voting rights. “It was kind of lenient and open for interpretation, which led to a lot of individuals losing their voter rights. Some would say they shouldn’t have based on the crimes they committed.”
Blackshear says the new law more clearly defines who, as a felon, can vote vs. who cannot.
“I truly believe in second chances for some,” Blackshear said. “There are some things you do when you don’t deserve second chances because it all starts with individual choices you and I make.”