By Eagle Newswire
Clarifying voting rights for persons convicted of a felony, House Bill (HB) 2253 passed on the house floor 91-5 and cleared the senate floor 39-0. Principal authors of the bill are Rep. Regina Goodwin and Sen. Stephanie Bice. Gov. Stitt signed the bill into law on April 22, 2019. Donna Thompson, prison ministries advocate, Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the State Election Board and Pam Slater were provided input and support on the bill. Voter registration forms will be changed to reflect new law language.
“Thank God, after four years of effort, this bill is now law. People with felonies need to know when they can vote, making the language clear is long overdue, Rep. Regina Goodwin.
Current past law read, “Persons convicted of a felony shall be ineligible to register for a period equal to the time prescribed in the judgment and sentence. Often people wrongly believe (for example), if the prison sentence is five years, after the five years are served, one must wait an additional five years (a period equal to the time prescribed) before registering to vote. Goodwin says, the new bill language basically reads, “You are eligible to vote when you have fully served your sentence.” Further wording details any term of incarceration, parole or supervision, or completed a period of probation.