What is the difference between misdemeanors and felonies in Arizona?
The American Civil Liberties Union launched a nationwide campaign Sunday on voting rights, with an emphasis in Arizona on restoring the voting rights of people convicted of a felony crime.
The Let People Vote campaign is working with community members to help pass a bill in the Arizona Legislature to restore the voting rights of citizens with felony convictions upon the completion of their sentence.
Alessandra Soler, ACLU Arizona executive director, said the organization aims to take back the vote in direct response to the Trump administration’s investigation of voter fraud, a problem she said “doesn’t exist.”
‘Voting equals power’
“Voting rights are important to our members,” Soler said. “Arizona is one of a handful of states that essentially takes away people’s voting rights — even after they’ve served their time in prison — and so our voting-rights campaign focuses on helping people restore their voting rights.”
According to the ACLU, voting rights in Arizona are restored automatically for a one-court felony conviction after successful completion of probation and payment of all fines and fees. People convicted of multiple felonies who serve time in a state correctional institution must wait two years from their discharge date to apply to have their voting rights restored.
More than 199,704 Arizona residents have been stripped of their right to vote, according to the ACLU.
“Voting equals power,” Soler said. “We are in the fight of our lives, and it’s not just about resisting, it’s about making progress of the core values that are important to all of us.
‘Everyone deserves a right to vote’
The national effort was launched during a livestream from Kansas. The campaign focuses on four major areas: voting-rights restoration, election reform, redistricting reform and combating voter suppression.
Faiz Shakir, ACLU national political director, said during the event that the group wants to “expand voting rights for all people across the country.”
Katherine Travis, an Arizona resident, said she agrees with the ACLU’s mission.
“Everyone deserves a right to vote, and we should take that opportunity,” she said. “Mobilizing the community is what they do the best.”
The ACLU plans to urge Arizona lawmakers to pass voting-restoration legislation and will host educational workshops for felons to help them regain their voting rights.
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