Half Citizens: nearly 90,000 Nevadans cannot vote due to past felony convictions

Nevada Capital News

According to Restore Your Vote, some 90,000 Nevadans cannot vote due to past felony convictions.  The Brennan Center for Justice estimates more than 6 million Americans are unable to vote because of a felonious past.

Felonies are major crimes that range in severity from premeditated murder to tax evasion. Sentences run from the death penalty to a few years in prison, as opposed to time in a city or county jail for a misdemeanor or minor crime, but felonies come with post-conviction consequences.

There is no federal law that affects a felon’s civil rights.  State laws decide whether felons can vote, serve on juries, own firearms or hold public office, for instance.  In Maine and Vermont, felons never lose their right to vote and are allowed to vote from prison, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Nevada is one of the 13 most restrictive states when restoring felon voting rights.  

In Nevada, voting disenfranchisement laws are complicated.  Before 2003, all felony convictions came with lifetime disenfranchisement in Nevada.  Today, Nevadans with first-time felony convictions typically have their voting rights automatically restored upon completion of their sentence, but more serious “category A” and “category B” felonies require an individual to petition the court in order to restore their voting rights.  

Read the full article