Can a Felon Vote in Alabama?

The state of Alabama was founded on December 14, 1819. It is known as the “Heart of Dixie” because it’s the geographical center of the former Confederate states. Montgomery, Alabama’s capital, has 226,519 residents as of 2015.

There are currently 29,983 imprisoned felons in Alabama. This is 0.6% of the state’s total population. Of the 29,983 imprisoned individuals, 27,450 (91.6%) are males while 2,533 (8.4%) are females.

Restoring voting rights for felons is important in a democratic society. The Eight Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits excessive sanctions. This means that a felon should be punished in proportion to his offense.

Can Felons Vote in Alabama?

According to Alabama’s state constitution (Article VIII, Section 182), convicted felons cannot vote while serving their sentence. Only after imprisonment can they restore their voting rights.

In the state of Alabama, felons may completely lose their voting rights. Certain criminal offenses perpetually prohibit an individual from voting. This is reserved for the gravest of crimes.

There are also certain crimes that will prevent a person from restoring his voting rights. These include impeachment, treason, sexual abuse, rape, incest, sodomy or sexual torture, and sexual exploitation of a minor, for whatever purpose.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, in accordance with state laws, determines restoration of voting rights. Only upon a felon’s expression of intent will the Board process voting rights restoration.

How Felons can Restore Voting Rights in Alabama?

Except for grave crimes mentioned earlier, formerly convicted felons may apply to restore their voting rights. To apply, they must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Discharged due to any of the following:
    • Have been granted parole
    • Have completed probation or parole
    • Have been released by completion of the sentence
  • Must have no pending criminal charges in any court
  • Must be cleared of all court-ordered fines

If an individual satisfies all the conditions, he or she may contact the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Board will evaluate and approve applications for voting rights restoration.

Sources

http://www.doc.state.al.us/docs/MonthlyRpts/2016-07.pdf

http://www.pardons.state.al.us/Pardons.aspx

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