Alpha Phi Alpha and Alpha Kappa Alpha Discuss Ex-Felon Voting Rights

Voting rights for ex-felons is a topic many voters are not well educated on. Little do many people know, citizens with felony convictions are prohibited from voting either permanently or temporarily in several states.

Florida, Kentucky, Iowa and Virginia are the only states that don’t restore ex-convicts’ rights as soon as they’re released from prison, according to the Huffington Post.

Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members from the Miami chapter were unable to answer questions from convicted felons about their voting rights. Luckily, these women were able to point them in the right direction.

“We really didn’t have answer for them,” Vanessa Byers, chairperson for her sorority’s Social Justice and Human Rights Committee, told the Huffington Post. “The only thing we could do was refer them to the ACLU.”

With the upcoming election, the sorority wants to ensure convicts are briefed on their rights in voting, so every potential vote may count.

After encountering such a difficult system, the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha are teaming up with Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to host registration fairs with people knowledgeable in rights restoration to answer any question, the Huffington Post reports.

Beverly Thompson, a volunteer with Augusta County Corrections Center, believes stripping away a convicted felon’s voting rights is “voter suppression,” according to WHSV-TV.

Everyone, she said, should have the right to vote.

“It makes me think of voter suppression and I don’t ay that word lightly,” she told WHSV-TV. “The media has said in recent past that Governor McDonnell (Virginia) has restored more voting rights than other governors, but it’s still not enough. It’s still a drop in the bucket.”

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