Can a Felon Vote in Arkansas?

The name Arkansas refers to the Quapaw people, the natives of the area. The state of Arkansas was formed in 1819 but was recognized as a state in 1836. 197,992 residents live in Little Rock City, the state’s capital.

The state’s prison population increase about 3% yearly. There are currently 17,684 imprisoned in various penitentiaries – with 16,282 male and 1,402 female prisoners. Arkansas’ prison percentage is low, .59% compared to it 2.9 million residents.

Felons can restore their voting rights after serving their sentence. The idea is that penitentiaries rehabilitate felons so they can integrate with the society someday. Permanent prohibition of voting rights violates this assumption.

Can Felons Vote in Arkansas?

A person is only forbidden to vote if he or she is convicted of felony and is currently serving prison sentence. Individuals who are convicted of a misdemeanor can still vote.

If a person is in jail for being convicted of a misdemeanor, he or she can still vote through absentee voting. This means that a person can vote outside of official voting stations during Election Day.

An individual convicted of a felony can’t vote. He or she may do so after serving his sentence or if granted pardon.

No laws permanently forbid felons from voting, regardless of the felony committed. After serving sentence, a convicted felon must apply for voting rights restoration.

How Felons can Restore Voting Rights in Arkansas?

Voting rights is not automatically restored for convicted felons. Felons convicted in this state may refer to the following procedure when planning to apply for the restoration of their voting rights (Amendment 51, Section 11).

  • The felon must acquire proof of discharge. Discharge includes the sentence served, probation, and parole. This will be given by the state Department of Correction.
  • The felon must pay court mandated fees.
  • The proof of discharge and payment of all court fees must then be submitted to the county clerk.

Upon submission, the felon can finally restore his or her voting rights. He is not required to undergo further evaluation as long as the procedure has been followed.

 

Source

http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/05

http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf

http://adc.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/2016_Arkansas_Prison_Projections_and_Historical_Corrections_Trends.pdf

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