What is the problem?
Over 230,000 Mississippians – 1 in 10 – have lost their right to vote because of a past felony conviction.
As a Mississippian returning from prison, you have the right to request voting rights restoration. But the process to regaining the right vote involves a complicated processs through the Mississippi Legislature.
What is the process to getting voting rights restored after a felony conviction?
- Contact their State Representative or Senator within the county they reside.
- The legislator then fills out an affidavit for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
- MDOC then provides the person’s name, county, crime convicted, and sentence served to the legislator.
- After receiving this information, the legislator then writes and introduces a bill on behalf of the candidate to their respective Judiciary B Committee (either House or Senate).
- Both chambers (House and Senate) must pass the bill by a two-thirds majority vote.
- If the governor doesnt veto your bill, your are then eligible to vote.
- But most imporantly, you must register to vote at your local Circuit Clerk’s office.
What past crimes make a person eligible for voting rights restoration?
- Any person 18 years of age who has resided in Mississippi and the county where they want to vote for thirty days who has been a law-abiding citizen after completing all probation and sentencing on one of the following disenfranchising crimes:
- Murder, Rape, Bribery, Theft, Arson, Obtaining Money or Goods under False Pretenses, Perjury, Forgery, Embezzlement, Bigamy, Armed Robbery, Extortion, Felony Bad Check, Felony Shoplifting, Larceny, Perjury, Receiving Stolen Property, Timber Larceny, Unlawful Taking of Motor Vehicle, Statutory Rape, Carjacking, or Larceny Under Lease or Rental Agreement
Do my records have to be expunged before I get my voting rights back?
The Voting Rights Restoration Project aims to help guide Mississippians who have lost their right to vote from a felony conviction through the complicated restoration process.
Why is this important?
- The restoration of voting rights has strong, bipartisan support.
- Currently, 21 states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Utah, restore voting eligibility for people with felony convictions upon their release from prison.
- Ensuring people with past convictions can participate in our democracy in a meaningful way is a foundational part of the rehabilitative process.
- Particpating in the voting process simply allows citizens to make positive change for their families and for the community.
- Research suggests that allowing formerly incarcerated individuals to vote can also reduce recidivism. A study by the Florida Parole Commission found that people with felony convictions whose eligibility was restored were three times less likely to commit new crimes.
We fought long and hard to participate in the sacred democratic process, so we are committed to making our voices heard.