NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments on whether Mississippi laws that restrict the voting rights of certain felons are unconstitutional.
Former convicted felons affected by the state’s laws are pushing to have their voting rights restored.
The Mississippi Constitution strips people convicted of 10 felonies of the right to vote. Those crimes include murder, forgery and bigamy, and the list was later expanded to 22, including crimes such as timber larceny and carjacking.
Those people can get their voting rights restored but only by going through a process of getting individual bills passed just for them with two-thirds approval by the Legislature or getting a pardon from the governor.
The plaintiffs argue the laws were enacted in 1890 as a way to disenfranchise black voters.