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Posts tagged ‘Louisiana Secretary of State’

Getting your voting rights restored after a conviction

Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration in the United States.

Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration in the United States.

Louisiana has more people in jail per capita than any other state in the Union. The United States has the largest number of people in prison per capita than any other country in the world. Conviction on felony charges brings with it a loss of the right to vote.

So, large numbers of Louisiana residents with prison records could be eligible to regain their right to vote. The catch? Those ex-fellons have to seek to have their voting rights restored.

In Louisiana, felons lose their voting rights for the time they are in jail, plus time on probation, as well as time on parole. Louisiana is one of 19 states having the time+probation+parole rule.

That can be a long time, but once that time is done, the process for regaining those rights is pretty straight forward. Felons who have served their time, probation and parole can get their rights restored by bring the appropriate Department of Corrections documents showing they are no longer under sentence with them to the local Clerk of Courts/Registrar of Voters office.

Ironically, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office does not have a specific page dealing with restoring the voting rights of felons despite the fact that we have so many felons in our state.

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Originally published: Oct 9, 2012

Defending the Integrity of Elections: How to become a poll watcher

Louisiana-sealThere’s been a lot of loose talk about voter fraud over the past year, much of it was part of a disinformation campaign designed to justify voter suppression legislation in various battleground states.

The ‘phantom voter’ form of vote fraud Republicans routinely accuse Democrats of practicing, it turns out, is very rare. Republicans, it seems, prefer voter registration fraud. ‘Trust but verify’ is the best course in any election and Louisiana law provides candidates and campaigns the tools to do so.

Poll watchers can be an effective tool campaigns can use to ensure the integrity of the election process.

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, each candidate is entitled to have one watcher at every precinct where the office he seeks is on the ballot in a primary or general election.

In addition to watchers and alternate watchers per precinct, each candidate may designate one watcher as a “Super Watcher” who can be admitted in every precinct in the candidate’s election at the same time as either the watcher or alternate watcher who is serving for the candidate.

The department has a pamphlet in PDF form on poll watchers that you can get by clicking here.

If you’re a candidate who wants to have poll watchers, you have until 10 days before the election date to submit your list of watchers to your parish clerk of courts. If you’re a citizen who wants to ensure the integrity of the election process, tell your favorite candidate or campaign manager about this process. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up organizing your own crew on behalf of that campaign.

One thing is clear: You have the power to protect the right that defines citizenship. Why not get involved?

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Originally published: Oct 9, 2012