SECOND CHANCE ALLIANCE BULLETIN: Call the NC Senate Today to Speak Out Against Felony Disenfranchisement and Preserve Our Voice

June 27, 2013

Over the last few years, our Alliance has called on elected leaders at the state legislature and in communities across North Carolina to increase access to resources for individuals with criminal records and lower barriers to reentry. We have gained much through our advocacy, including:

  • Certificates of Relief  (SL-2011-265)
  • Expunction of Nonviolent Offense by Adult (SL 2012-191)
  • Establishment of Local Reentry Councils and State Reentry Advisory Board (SL 2012-168)
  • Reasonable Use of Criminal Records by Licensing Boards (SL 2013-24)
  • Prohibit Expunction Inquiry (SL 2013-53)

Essential to our recent success and future ambitions is the ability of each member of the NC Second Chance Alliance—especially those with criminal records who directly impacted by these barriers— to voice his or her concerns to our elected leaders and hold those leaders accountable at the ballot box.

The NC Senate is now developing a voter ID bill to be introduced next week. The provisions of this bill are currently unclear but are likely to include a provision that would deny each individual with a felony conviction of his or her right to vote even after the completion of their criminal sentence. A similar voter ID bill introduced earlier this year included a felony disenfranchisement provision that would exclude a person with a felony conviction from voting for at least 5 years after he or she has completed his or her criminal sentence. Even then—5 years after having paid their debt to society—the person would be required to receive the unanimous consent of the local elections board in order to have his or her right to vote restored.

We must be vigilant. Civil disabilities imposed on individuals with felony convictions already undermine the basic opportunities and resources essential to productive citizenship, including gainful employment, affordable housing, and family unification. While the right to vote may seem less urgent compared to the more immediate deprivations of poverty caused by these other barriers to reentry, it is no less important. Defeating this bill is about preserving our voice and protecting the ability of Alliance members and others with felony convictions to engage in our state’s democratic discourse as full-fledged citizens.

WHAT TO DO

First and foremost, please reach out to Senators Tom Apodaca (tom.apodaca@ncleg.net, (919) 733-5745) and Buck Newton (buck.newton@ncleg.net, (919) 715-3030) by phone or email. Senator Apodaca is a key player in constructing the voter ID bill, while Senator Newton has previously sponsored a voter ID below with a felony disenfranchisement provision. Use the talking points below and/or share your own reentry story to express your opposition to felony disenfranchisement being included in the Senate’s voter ID bill. Always be respectful.

Also, included below are the names of other Senators who have previously supported felony disenfranchisement. Reach out to these individuals and respectfully voice your support for second chances and your opposition to felony disenfranchisement.

Key Talking Points For Opposition to Felony Disenfranchisement

  • I oppose any voter ID bill that includes a felony disenfranchisement provision.  
  • I oppose denying individuals with felony convictions the right to vote after they have completed their criminal sentences.
  • The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and I believe that when someone has paid their debt to society, he or she should have their citizenship rights restored. They should not be treated like second-class citizens.
  • Felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact low-income and African-American communities.
  • Please reconsider your support of felony disenfranchisement.

Senator

Counties

Phone

Email

Room

Buck Newton

Johnston, Nash, Wilson

(919) 715-3030

Buck.Newton@ncleg.net

408

Chad Barefoot

Franklin, Wake

(919) 715-3036

Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net

623

Stan Bingham

Davidson, Montgomery

(919) 733-5665

Stan.Bingham@ncleg.net

2117

Andrew Brock

Davie, Iredell, Rowan

(919) 715-0690

Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net

521

Bill Cook

Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans

(919) 715-8293

Bill.Cook@ncleg.net

525

Warren Daniel

Burke, Cleveland

(919) 715-7823

Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net

1127

Ralph Hise

Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Yancey

(919) 733-3460

Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net

1026

Brent Jackson

Duplin, Johnston, Sampson

(919) 733-5705

Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net

523

Ron Rabin

Harnett, Johnston, Lee

(919) 733-5748

Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net

526

Shirley Randleman

Stokes, Surry, Wilkes

(919) 733-5743

Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net

308

Dan Soucek

Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga

(919) 733-5742

Dan.Soucek@ncleg.net

310

Tommy Tucker

Union

(919) 733-7659

Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net

311

 

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