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Oklahoma counties reminded ex-felons can vote

By Michael Kimball Modified: September 18, 2008 at 6:39 am •  Published: September 18, 2008
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma mailed letters to the state's county election boards this week reminding them former felons have the right to vote.

"With Oct.10 being the deadline (for voter registration) for the presidential election, we find this to be extremely timely,” said ACLU spokeswoman Katy Jones at a Tuesday news conference. "A lot of people don't understand that these ex-felons have voting rights.”

In Oklahoma, convicted felons are stripped of the right to vote while incarcerated, on parole or probation. When a felon's original sentence is complete, voting rights are restored. Those given a deferred sentence for a felony crime retain their voting rights without interruption. Voting rights for felons vary by state.

All of Us or None Oklahoma, the local chapter of a national felon advocacy group, is conducting a survey this month to see which counties are giving incorrect information about felons' voting rights, spokeswoman Faye Tucker said. Counties have shown improvement over a 2005 survey in providing correct information, Tucker said.


Felon voting rights FAQs

Q: Can convicted felons vote in Oklahoma?

A: Yes — so long as their sentence has been completed.

Q: Can people accused of a felony, but not convicted, vote?

A: Yes. Voting rights are stripped only upon conviction for a felony.

Q: What about deferred or suspended sentences?

A: People given a deferred sentence can vote. People given suspended sentences for felony convictions cannot vote.

Q: Must felons provide proof they are not on probation or on parole when registering to vote?

A: No. Like all voters, felons are simply asked to swear they meet requirements.

Q: What if a person's felony conviction came from another state?

A: The same rules apply, regardless of jurisdiction.

Source: American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma

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