Voter Rights, Disenfranchisement, and Registration Legislation
Fifteen states have enacted new voter restrictions during the last presidential election, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center: “In some cases, the courts have revealed the laws as part of an electoral strategy by Republicans who aim to decrease minority turnout in elections.”
According to The Nevada Independent, “People of color are traditionally overrepresented in the criminal justice system, which means the issue of criminal justice reform is often framed as an issue of racial justice.”
Under current law, ex-felons who have been convicted of lower-level crimes, like forgery or possession of certain drugs, can have their voting rights immediately restored upon release from prison or after receiving a so-called “honorable discharge” from probation or parole, meaning they passed any drug tests, made curfew, paid any necessary restitution and met all other conditions of their parole or probation.
One of the proposed bills, AB181, allows all lower-level ex-felons to have their rights restored regardless of how they were discharged. That includes the restoration of the right to vote and the right to serve as a juror in a civil trial immediately, the right to hold office after four years and the right to serve as a juror in a criminal trial after six years.
Advocates for criminal justice reform argue that someone can be dishonorably discharged for technical violations, such as not having enough money to pay restitution or missing curfew once, even though they’re trying to get their life back on track….
A companion bill, SB125, would allow lower-level felons on probation or parole to have their civil rights — including voting and serving as a juror in civil or criminal actions — restored after one year of their term of probation or parole or upon completion of his or her term of parole, whichever is sooner. It also shortens the waiting period for people convicted of certain crimes to petition the court to seal their records relating to the crime.
Click here to find out more about Initiative Petition One. #Petition1NV seeks to automatically register most Nevada residents to vote when they submit an application for a driver’s license or citizen identification card.