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February 19, 2013 (The Anniston Star)

Alabama considers change in loss of vote notification

A bill in the Alabama legislature would change the way the state informs people who’ve been stricken from the voter rolls for criminal convictions -- a change that could have larger effects downstream.

Senate Bill 109 would change state law so that people with felony convictions are notified by normal U.S. mail that they no longer have the right to vote-- not by certified mail as they presently are.

The bill's sponsor says it could save the state thousands of dollars per year. But Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, says it sounds like an attempt to suppress the vote.

"I see no reason why you'd want to make that change," she said, noting that certified mail, which has to be signed for by the recipient, provides proof of notification for  both the state and the person being removed from the rolls.

Most states deny voting rights to people convicted of certain kinds of felonies. Some restore that right to people after they complete their sentences; Alabama is among roughly a dozen states that keep formerly incarcerated people off the voter rolls even after they've served their time.

Issue Area(s): Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Collateral Consequences