North Carolina, United States has become the first southern state to grant former inmates their right to vote, a ruling which aims at redressing the state’s racist origins of its “felon disenfranchisement” law.
“Everyone on felony probation, parole or post-supervision release can now register and vote, starting today,” says Stanton Jones, an attorney representing the parties who challenged the law.
As of now, all formerly incarcerated individuals currently on “community supervision” – a form of probation – can vote. The voting-age population in North Carolina is made up of 9% of Black men, of which 36% are disenfranchised, “largely frustrating aims of the 15th Amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” attorney Daryl Atkinson pleaded during the trial. “Our biggest quarrels in this state have been over what groups of people have a voice at the ballot box to be included in ‘We the People’. Today, we enlarged the ‘we’ in ‘We the People’.”