Nevadans with a past criminal conviction may be deprived of their right to vote by confusing and likely illegal language on voter registration forms, according to a January letter from voting rights attorneys to Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. Letter co-authors at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit focused on election law, said the wording on Nevada’s voter sign-up sheets could lead residents with a past conviction to think they’re not eligible to vote. In fact, first-time non-violent felony offenders in Nevada are automatically allowed to register at the end of their sentence. Only those convicted of two felonies, or one or more violent felonies, are barred from voting in the state.
Yet Nevada’s current voter forms require applicants to state they are “not laboring under any felony conviction or other loss of civil rights that would make it unlawful for me to vote.”
“The most sensible reading of this sentence, without more information, is that any felony conviction makes it unlawful for a citizen to vote,” attorneys wrote in their Jan. 31 letter to Cegavske. “As a result, eligible applicants who have fully discharged their sentence resulting from non-disqualifying felony convictions will probably read this form and wrongly believe they are ineligible.”
Full Article: State forms faulted for foiling ex-felon voters.