Restore Voting Rights to Non-Violent Felony Offenders in Georgia!

the Georiga General Assembly

Imagine if you didn't have a say in the selection of your mayor, governor, members of Congress, or even your president -- your power, your place, and your voice in our democracy stripped away. That's what's happening to thousands of Georgians right now -- many people with non-violent felony convictions are being barred from voting.

This is because In 1877 (the same year poll taxes and literacy tests were implemented), Georgia added a “moral turpitude” provision to the state constitution.

“No person who had been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude may register, remain registered, or vote except upon completion of sentence”

Because “moral turpitude” and “completion of sentence” have never been defined in Georgia, the terms are applied as broadly as possible. Leaving thousands of Georgians without a say in their government, sometimes for decades.

In 2018 alone, more than 264,000 Georgians were unable to exercise their right to vote due to former convictions.

Voter disenfranchisement is not a crime deterrent. In fact, research shows that voting, because it is a prosocial behavior that helps former offenders feel connected to their community, can actually reduce criminal behavior.

The United States jails more people than any other country and the state of Georgia has one of the highest incarcerated populations in the country. Pervasive racial bias disproportionately keeps people of color in prisons and on parole and probation. Felony disenfranchisement then prevents people from speaking up at the ballot box -- so elected officials don’t feel accountable to the needs of their full constituency.

Common Cause GA, the GA Coalition for the People’s Agenda, 9to5 Georgia, Black Voters Matter, Georgia NAACP, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice -Atlanta, along with our members are calling on the Georgia General Assembly to define “moral turpitude” and “completion of sentence” and restore voting rights to non-violent offenders immediately upon release from incarceration. Please add your name and call for an end to felony disenfranchisement.

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To: the Georiga General Assembly
From: [Your Name]

We, the citizens of Georgia, demand that the members of the Georgia General Assembly define moral turpitude and that the voting rights of offenders who do not fall under that category be automatically restored upon release from incarceration.