Ex-Offenders Do Vote in N.C. | News Feature | Indy Week

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Ex-Offenders Do Vote in N.C.

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In North Carolina, convicted felons lose their right to vote once a final sentence is entered against them. They regain voting rights when the sentence is completed--including any probation time--and all fines have been paid, according to Michelle Mrozkowski, assistant director of the State Board of Elections.

That means someone convicted of a felony, but awaiting the results of an appeal, can vote from prison using an absentee ballot, Mrozkowski says. Once the final judgement is entered in a case, however, the county boards of election are notified and remove the convict from the registration rolls. The county boards send a letter to the person's voting address to prevent removing the wrong person by mistake--the kind of error apparently common in Florida's mass purge.

When ex-felons fill out a new voter registration application, they must sign a declaration that their "rights of citizenship" have been restored, and it's up to the applicant to know what that term means under state law. Signing a knowingly false declaration is a felony itself, and if a voting registrar suspects a falsehood or is tipped off to one, Mrozkowski says, the county probation office should be queried. But in general, once someone's served his time, he gets to vote--unlike in Florida.

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