Small number have voting rights restored in Mississippi

Mississippi lists 21 felony crimes that disqualify a person from voting for life: arson; armed robbery; bigamy; bribery; embezzlement; extortion; felony bad check; felony shoplifting; forgery; larceny; murder; obtaining money or goods under false pretense; perjury; rape; receiving stolen property; robbery; theft; timber larceny; unlawful taking of motor vehicle; statutory rape; carjacking; and larceny under lease or rental agreement.

In Mississippi, the only way to restore the right to vote after a felony conviction is by the Legislature passing a suffrage bill. However, very few people have their right to vote restored through the legislative process.

“It’s not an effective, workable system,” said longtime state Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston. “It’s basically a 19th century system for the 21st century.”

Reynolds said Mississippi is one of only a few states with a disenfranchising felony crime law in its State Constitution. The Mississippi NAACP and other organizations and groups have referred to them as Jim Crow laws, which they say are designed to limit minority participation in the political process.

Clarion Ledger
8/3/16