The law for disenfranchisement or the removal of rights can be complicated in Tennessee. Complete revocation of voting privileges is issued to some felons while electoral rights are restored to others. Certain felons who complete sentences who have paid all the necessary courts costs and restitution, who are up-to-date with child support, can re-register to vote.
On the other hand, felons who have convictions for such crimes as bribery, murder or rape are permanently not permitted to vote. Unless the government can intervene and approve individual restoration of a person’s rights, the felon cannot vote for life.
Felon Voting Law in Tennessee
According to Article 4, §2 of the state Constitution, the Tennessee legislature can deny voting rights to a person convicted of what are termed as “infamous” crimes. As a result, because of this provision, the legislature does exclude people who have committed certain felonies from the right to vote. However, that being said, the lawmakers have also set aside processes and conditions so individuals can regain their electoral rights. The manner in which an individual goes about restoring their rights depends on the crime and the year of the conviction.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a form for the restoration of voting rights may be completed for electoral restoration for felony convictions occurring on and after May 18, 1981. However, the form cannot be completed by the felon. Rather, the document should be filled out by a criminal court clerk or parole or probation officer – someone who can elaborate on the felon’s conviction information. Some of the information provided by the agent may include the final release date or data involving the court costs and restitution. Once completed, the form must be delivered to the area’s county election commission office where a felon lives. The restoration of the right to vote only restores individual voting rights. A felon’s citizenship rights must be restored through an order of the court.
How a Felon in Tennessee Can Restore Their Voting Rights
The Tennessee Secretary of State sets out the requirements for people wishing to vote in the state. In order to be eligible to vote in Tennessee, an applicant must meet the following prerequisites:
· He or she must be a US citizen and must be 18 years old or older before or by the next scheduled election date.
· They must be a Tennessee resident.
· They are not convicted of a felony and if they are a felon, their voting rights must have been restored.
To participate in an election, a voter who is qualified must register not more than 30 days before an election. The election commission office will process voter registrations that are postmarked at least 30 days before an election. (T.C.A 2-2-109).
Anyone wants to re-register or register to vote can download and fill out an application and mail it to the county election commission. Registration applications may also be picked up at the following facilities:
· County election commission offices
· Public libraries
· County clerk’s offices
· Register of deed’s offices
Forms can also be obtained during a transaction at any of the following agencies:
· Department of Human Services
· Department of Health (WIC program)
· Department of Mental Health
· Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
· Department of Safety (the Division of Motor Vehicles)
· Department of Veteran’s Affairs
You can download and complete a voter’s registration form and mail in the application to the county election commission. For any felon who has their voting privileges reinstated, they have plenty of resources available to them that will allow them to re-register to vote.
Other Resources For Felons in Tennessee
Jobs For Felons: If you’re a felon looking for a job in Alabama, we have all of the resources you need including job listings by city, companies that hire felons, and our own job board. Click Here to learn more.
Voting Rights in Surrounding States
- Voting Rights for Felons in Missouri
- Voting Rights for Felons in Arkansas
- Voting Rights for Felons in Mississippi
- Voting Rights for Felons in Alabama
- Voting Rights for Felons in Georgia
- Voting Rights for Felons in North Carolina
- Voting Rights for Felons in Virginia
- Voting Rights for Felons in Kentucky