Voting is a fundamental right of citizenship in the United States. However, this right is not absolute – several restrictions can prevent people from being able to vote. One of these restrictions is felony disenfranchisement, which bars people with felony convictions from voting.
In the United States, felony disenfranchisement is the legal process by which people who have been convicted of a felony are barred from voting. In Arizona, people with felonies on their record are not automatically allowed to vote once they have completed their sentence. Instead, they must go through a process of applying to have their voting rights restored.
Arizona Rights Restoration Program
The process of restoring your voting rights in Arizona can be complicated and vary depending on your situation. You may need to go through several court proceedings and get approval from the Governor’s office.
If you have been convicted of a felony in Arizona, you automatically lose your right to vote. To restore your voting rights, you must first complete your sentence, including any probation or parole. Once you have done so, you can begin the process of petitioning the court for restoration of your voting rights.
The process begins with filing a Petition for Restoration of Civil Rights with the Superior Court in the county where you reside. The court will then hold a hearing on the matter, at which time you will need to show that you have been rehabilitated and are now a law-abiding citizen.
If the court grants your petition, your civil rights will be restored and you will once again be able to vote in Arizona. However, your voting rights can only be restored by the Governor’s office if you have been convicted of certain felonies, such as murder or rape.
It is important to note that even if your voting rights are restored, you may still be ineligible to vote in some federal elections unless you also have your federal rights restored. If you have any questions about your eligibility to vote, you should contact your local election officials.
Who Is Not Eligible for Enfranchisement in Arizona?
There are a few exceptions to this process. People who have been convicted of treason or a felony involving “moral turpitude” are not eligible to have their voting rights restored. In addition, people who are “habitual criminals” by the courts are also not eligible for restoration.
Impact of Voting Restrictions
The impact of felony disenfranchisement can be significant. In Arizona, there are approximately 31,000 people with felonies on their record who are not currently allowed to vote. This means that these individuals are effectively barred from participating in the democratic process and having a say in how their state is run.
Voting restrictions like felony disenfranchisement disproportionately impact people of color and other marginalized groups. In Arizona, for example, 31% of African American adults are ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction, compared to just 5% of white adults. This disparity is even more pronounced when considering specific offenses: nearly half of all African Americans with a drug-related offense on their record are barred from voting, compared to just 16% of whites with a similar offense. This can lead to further disparities in the political process and make it more difficult for these groups to have their voices heard.
The Bottom Line
If you have been impacted by a voting restriction, it is important to understand your rights and options so that you can participate in the democratic process.
If you have been convicted of a felony in Arizona and would like to have your voting rights restored, you can find more information on the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency website.