By Eagle Newswire
Oklahoma City, Okla. – Gov. Kevin Stitt held a ceremonial bill signing on Monday, July 29. State Rep. Regina Goodwin attended a ceremonial bill signing for legislation that clarifies language in state statute regarding when a person that has been convicted of a felony can vote after serving their sentence.
House Bill 2253, authored by Rep. Goodwin, clarifies statutory language so that citizens may better understand when they can vote. The law was officially codified last May.
Rep. Goodwin stated, “I met a man sitting in a rocking chair on his porch. He had been out of prison for 35 years and did not know he could vote. It was important to make the law clear, so a person who has served their time, knows they have the right to vote.”
“This legislation makes it perfectly clear that when you have done your time, when you have met the requirements of the state, you are allowed to participate in our democracy. By removing this confusion, we are inviting more people into the voting process, which ultimately is good for everyone,” said Rep. Goodwin
The legislation changes wording in statute from “Persons convicted of a felony shall be ineligible to register for a period of time equal to the time prescribed in the judgment sentence” to “persons convicted of a felony shall be eligible to register to vote when they have fully served their sentence of court-mandated calendar days, including any term of incarceration, parole or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court.”
“When you are on the path to redemption, it’s important to know what redemption looks like,” said the Oklahoma Baptists State Convention Prison Ministry Director Donna K. Thompson. “By clarifying this language, we can help people see that their rights can be restored and that their participation is not spurned but welcomed.”
Goodwin praises Thompson and both Pastor John A. Reed Jr. and Reginald Hines for their advocacy on this issue.