A Felonious Misconception

Jennifer Hernandez, Staff Reporter


Voting rights vary from state to state, which means many eligible voters don’t fully understand their voting laws. Historically, citizens convicted of a felony were widely stripped of their right to vote in most US states. In many states like Mississippi and Alabama you are still not allowed to vote if you’re a convicted felon. However, this is no longer the case in Texas.


In Texas those with a felony conviction can restore their right to vote as long as they have been pardoned or fully discharged of their sentence, and don’t owe any fines, restitution,or costs for their conviction.


It’s a common assumption that federal law has control over the ability of who gets to vote, but the federal law actually has no say on that. Each state has the power to make the decision on who is eligible to vote. 


New and old voters were shocked to hear this given Texas’ conservative past. Texas has a long history of voter suppression that has disenfranchised the voting rights of many minorities.


Voter suppression goes all the way back to the reconstruction era. After the 15th amendment which gave African American men the right to not be denied the right to vote based on their race,color,or religion many states found a loophole into preventing minorities from voting by creating laws, many laws being poll taxing, literacy test, and the grandfather clause.

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