Tennessee Voting Restoration Law Among Most Confusing in U.S.

In March, the Florida Supreme Court could approve a 2018 ballot measure that would restore voting rights to 1.5 million residents who cannot vote because of past felony convictions. A quarter of the state’s black citizens cannot vote without a pardon from the governor. Florida is one of only three states that permanently strips the right to vote from anyone convicted of a felony.

Fourteen states plus D.C. automatically restore voting rights once a person is released from incarceration.

Tennessee is not among the best. Nor is it among the worst. But its rights restoration laws have earned a problematic distinction — they are among the most confusing.

complex-voting-restoration-w-frameThis can discourage people from even applying or can deny voting to those whose rights are legally restored, because confusing laws also confuse election officials.

Read about Florida’s regressive voting rights laws here. You can also look at disenfranchisement laws across the country on this interactive map created by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.

Check out Just City’s Legislative Agenda for Tennessee’s upcoming legislative session.  It includes automatic expungement, which would help smooth the path for voting rights restoration.