State and local boards of elections are bound to comply with a court order issued Monday that restores voting privileges to convicted felons who are no longer incarcerated but are still on parole or probation.
Patrick Gannon, public information director for the N.C. Board of Elections told WIZS News Wednesday, “We are required to comply with court orders, so those who are (on) probation, parole, or post-release supervision are able to re-register to vote at this time.”
If the ruling stands, more than 55,000 people in North Carolina would be allowed to re-register to vote, Gannon noted. A three-judge panel of Wake County Superior Court entered a preliminary injunction Monday to restore voting rights to all North Carolinians on felony probation, parole or post-release supervision.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit Community Success Initiative v. Moore, which claimed that convicted felons who were no longer incarcerated but still on parole or probation, were unfairly denied restoration of their right to vote. Previously, convicted felons no longer in jail or prison were not allowed to register to vote if they were still on parole or probation.
Gannon said state elections board attorneys are reviewing the decision.
“If a court were to reverse the preliminary injunction, we would need to work with the department of public safety to update the felon data that we receive,” Gannon said.
It would fall to county boards of elections to perform regular list maintenance to remove ineligible voters.
Boards of elections and the department of public safety have regular voter roll list maintenance and automated checks of new registrants, Gannon said.
He said elections officials do not keep numbers of felon voters by county, so it is unclear just how many potential felon voters reside in the four-county area.
Melody Vaughan, deputy director of the Vance County Board of Elections, told WIZS News Tuesday that, as far as the upcoming municipal elections in Middleburg and Kittrell are concerned, only residents who live inside the towns’ city limits may cast ballots.
Local boards, including Vance, are waiting for guidance from the state board to allow this disenfranchised population to regain voter privileges. If and when that happens, Vaughan said individuals have until Oct. 8 to register. There is no same-day registration for the Nov. 2 elections, Vaughan said.
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