Georgia is a state located in the southern region of America. Most people mistake it with the country sharing the same name. It was named after the British King, George II. Also known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South, it was established in 1733. It is the last of the thirteen original colonies to be established. It is the 24th largest state in terms of area and 8th most populous out of the 50 states of America.
The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has 28 male state prisons, four (4) female state prisons and four (4) male private prisons. In total there are 52,000 male offenders and 3, 500 female offenders scattered throughout the state.
Most rights of inmates are restored after serving their sentence. However, some states in the country have very stiff rules in the restoration of the right of suffrage. Pro-felon voting advocates often argue that this is one of the best ways to help the former inmate to reintegrate back into the community. Depriving him of his civil liberties would only further alienate him from the society.
Can felons vote in Georgia?
As provided in their laws, felons in Georgia can only vote after serving their full sentence. Any convicted felon currently in prison, on probation or on parole cannot vote. Furthermore, they cannot run or hold public office.
As for professional licensing restrictions, felons can only be granted a license after the approval of licensing agencies. These agencies are given the discretionary power to grant licenses after due scrutiny of the nature and details of the felon’s crime.
There is no longer a need to apply for restoration of voting rights in Georgia. Such is restored upon the completion of one’s service sentence. However, there are still certain rights that are not automatically granted to former convicts.
Restoration of civil and political rights is an order that enables one to serve as a jury, run for and hold for public office and to serve as a Notary Public. While on the other hand, pardon is an order of official forgiveness granted to individuals with outstanding behavior in their community after the completion of their sentence. This is an official statement that is often attached to the felon’s criminal record. However, it does not completely erase the record of such crime. It is also a way for the felon to obtain employment or pursue further studies.
How can felons restore their voting rights in Georgia?
As earlier explained, there are two ways to restore such rights in Georgia. The two ways are pardon and restoration of civil and political rights. In turn, there are two types of pardon – general pardon and registered sex offender pardon.
To avail of pardon, one must complete the following requirements first. It should be noted, however, that this is for those who committed crimes other than sex-related offenses:
- Individual must have completed his or her sentence at least five (5) years prior to application.
- Individual must have abided with all the laws, rules and regulations at least five (5) years prior to application
- Individual must have no pending charges against him or her.
- Fines and restitution fees must be fully paid.
Voting is one of the rights afforded to its people by the Constitution. However due to felon disenfranchisement, individuals are unable to exercise such right. Felons in Georgia may successfully restore their civil and political rights by following the steps mentioned in the previous paragraph.