Felons not locked up may register to vote starting July 27

Felons not locked up may register to vote starting July 27
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Starting Wednesday, July 27, a felon who is not in jail or prison may register to vote and vote.

The State Board of Elections says a person must also have been living in North Carolina for at least 30 days before the election, be a U.S. citizen, and be at least 18 years old by the next general election.

We’re told that previously, under a state statute, a person serving a felony sentence could not register to vote, or vote, whether they were in or out of prison, until they completed that sentence. This meant that felons serving probation, post-release supervision, or parole, were unable to register to vote, or vote, until they finished their term of supervision.

However, earlier this year a state superior court found that denying voting rights to people serving their felony sentences outside of jail or prison violates the state constitution. The decision has been appealed, but while it is on appeal, the state Court of Appeals has ordered that the decision go into effect Wednesday, July 27.

The SBE says if a person is in jail awaiting trial for a felony but has not yet been convicted, they keep their voting rights. In North Carolina, a person never loses their voting rights for a misdemeanor conviction.

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