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Alabama: state court grants voting rights to all felons

The Circuit Court of Jefferson County today issued a judgment on a case seeking to restore many felons' voting rights. Here are the high points of the decree:

  • Certifies a class of "Every citizen of the United States, currently residing in this State and 18 years of age or older, who has at any time been convicted of a felony in anyjurisdiction and who is not, as of the date of this order, registered to vote in this State."
  • Declares that the policy and practice of disfranchising all felons violates the Alabama Constitution.
  • All registrars in the state are ordered to cease the policy immediately and to follow the requirements of the Alabama Constitution.
  • "Unless and until the Alabama Legislature passes, and the Governor signs into law, legislation specifically identifying which felonies involve moral turpitude, and unless and until any such duly-enacted legislation receives the necessary pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department, the named defendants, all members of the defendant class, and all those who work with r on behalf of any of the defendants or defendant class members, are ENJOINED from refusing to register any individual, otherwise qualified to vote, on the ground that the individual has previously been convicted of a felony."
  • Stays the order until it has been precleared, and orders the State's lawyers to submit the order for preclearance propmptly.
  • Disclosure: Ryan Haygood of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and I represent the plaintiffs in this case.

    Note: I have amended the entry to add the second bullet point.

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