Convicted of one of these crimes? You might not be able to vote in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If you have been convicted of one of 22 specific crimes, you might not be able to vote in Mississippi.
Those crimes are: arson, armed robbery, bigamy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, felony bad check, felony shoplifting, forgery, larceny, murder, obtaining money or goods under false pretenses, perjury, rape, receiving stolen property, robbery, theft, timber larceny, unlawful taking of motor vehicle, statutory rape, carjacking and larceny under lease or rental agreement.
In Mississippi, the only way for a person who has been convicted of one of the 22 crimes listed above to get their voting rights restored is if they receive a pardon from the governor or have the legislature pass a bill for their voting rights to be given back by a two-thirds vote from both houses of the legislature.
When the Mississippi Constitution was written, ten crimes took away one’s right to vote. Attorney General Jim Hood (D) expanded that list to include 22 crimes. Felons who have not committed any of those 22 crimes can still vote.
According to Pro Con, Mississippi is one of nine states that institutes the permanent disenfranchisement of at least some people with criminal convictions. In other states, such as Texas and Arkansas, a felon may have their voting right restored after serving their time in prison or serving out their parole.
In two states, though, Maine and Vermont, no voting rights are taken away for felons and all prisoners can vote.
In a 2019 poll, 69 percent of registered voters said that incarcerated felons should not be allowed to vote. Another poll done in 2018 found that 63 percent of people think that felons should have their voting rights restored after they have completed their sentence.
Some Mississippi felons have now filed a class action lawsuit in an attempt to get their voting rights back. They argue, according to the Associated Press, that a “lifetime voting ban is cruel and unusual punishment — a violation of the 8th Amendment.”
Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.