Voting restoration begins with legislature

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss (WCBI.)- Primary elections for local office are this year.

Candidates will be asking for your vote.

But some Mississippians have lost the right to cast a ballot. It is all about being convicted of a felony.

If someone you know serves time for a serious charge in Mississippi, he or she will probably lose their voice in government.

And the only way to get that vote back – is to go through Jackson.

Voting is one of the most important responsibilities we have as citizens. But in Mississippi, if you are convicted of specific crimes, you lose that right.

In fact, there are 22 crimes that will strip you of your vote.

Ike Brown knows that first hand. In 1995, he lost his voting rights. Brown served time for voter fraud.

But he asked state lawmakers to give him back his vote. It’s called an individual appeal. A bill introduced by his attorney and passed in Jackson.

Brown can vote again.

These days he works as a community activist in Noxubee County. He has helped several others go through the same process.

Lowndes County Circuit Clerk Teresa Barksdale says to restore the right of suffrage, it begins with legislature.

“You have to initiate that with someone in the legislature, or the senate. They have to be the one to introduce it as a bill in the house and then it has to go through the house floor and had to be voted on by each uh office and ultimately signed off by the governor,” said Barksdale.

Barksdale says that in Lowndes County she doesn’t see many cases.

If a person is convicted of a violent crime, his or her name is purged from the voter rolls. It’s the same with arson and robbery, along with other financial crimes.

“Predominately most of our crimes here in Lowndes County are drug related,” said Barksdale.

And a person who has served time on a drug charge can still vote.

Teresa Barksdale says that no one has yet been given back their right to vote since she’s been in office.

Categories: Local News

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