A new judicial ruling will open the door for some felons on probation or parole to vote in North Carolina’s elections this fall.
The ruling isn’t final, so it’s possible that it could still change between now and November. But on Friday, a panel of three judges from different areas of the state ruled that part of the state’s felon disenfranchisement law appears to be unconstitutional. The judges issued a 2-1 ruling stopping the state from enforcing that part of the law, at least temporarily.
“It’s time to eradicate this vestige of Jim Crow,” said Daniel Jacobson, a lawyer for the challengers, last month when the judges heard the arguments from both sides.
Some states let felons regain the right to vote once they leave prison, but not North Carolina. People here don’t get back their rights until they have finished their entire sentence, including probation or parole.
The judges didn’t extend voting rights to everyone on probation or parole for a felony, as the challengers including Durham’s Community Success Initiative had asked.But they did rule in favor of people who would have already finished their time under supervision, except for not paying court costs and fees.