Former Felons Sue Tennessee for Voting Rights


But there’s a different option for people convicted of out-of-state crimes, and according to the voter advocacy group Campaign Legal Center, the law is straighforward: individuals should only need to prove they’ve had their citizenship rights restored in the state where they were previously convicted. “The Tennessee Legislature has seen fit to deem a lot of people with felony convictions eligible to restore their rights or just plain old eligible to vote,” says Blair Bowie, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center. “We just want to make sure that they can actually vindicate those rights.” Bowie’s organization has sued the state on behalf of two clients, both denied voter registrations in Tennessee. Their rights had been restored in their former respective states, Virginia and North Carolina. Campaign Legal Center says the state also lacks a clear registration procedure for those with out-of-state convictions to demonstrate their eligibility to vote. “Because the law is so complicated, people who are able to vote or are able to get their voting rights restored often don’t know, and that’s essentially passive voter suppression,” Bowie says. 

Read the full article here.