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Thousands Of Felons In North Carolina Can Now Register To Vote

Tens of thousands of people serving punishments for felony convictions in North Carolina but who aren’t behind bars can now register to vote and cast ballots following an appeals court ruling. Expanding the scope of those able to register and vote began on Wednesday, reports the Associated Press. The change comes from litigation challenging a 1973 law that prevents someone convicted of a felony from having voting rights restored while they are still on probation, parole, or post-release supervision. A panel of trial judges struck down the law in March, declaring it violates the state constitution largely because it discriminates against Black residents.


The state Supreme Court agreed in May to hear an appeal of that decision, and the case remains pending.

But justices didn’t touch a Court of Appeals ruling that prevented registration requests from the felons who weren’t in prison or jail from being fulfilled only through Tuesday. So these applicants — for now and unless the Supreme Court reverses the trial court ruling — will be able to vote, starting with the November general election. More than 56,000 people in North Carolina were prevented from registering under the challenged law, according to evidence cited in a 2021 trial. There are more than 7.3 million registered voters in North Carolina.