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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Group works to help GA residents understand, restore voting rights

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Friday, February 2, 2024   

As people in Georgia mobilize for the 2024 General Election, one group wants to make it easier for those with felony records to understand their voting rights -- and get them reinstated, if needed.

The Campaign Legal Center's "Restore Your Vote" campaign includes an online "Restore Your Vote" tool.

It's estimated that about 275,000 Georgia residents have been disenfranchised because of felony convictions. However, Blair Bowie, Restore Your Vote campaign director for the Campaign Legal Center, said voting laws are complex and different from state to state -- and many people don't know they could restore their rights.

"So, in Georgia and North Carolina, restoration of voting rights is automatic once a person has finished probation and parole," she explained. "So, at that point, they can just go ahead and register to vote."

Nationally, it is estimated that up to 18 million people with felony records still have the right to vote.

Bowie said the Restore Your Vote tool asks questions related to felony convictions and sentence completion, based on the state where the person resides. It can provide information on whether their right to vote has been restored or when that can happen, and what steps they can take to proactively regain these rights.

Bowie said the Campaign Legal Center also offers resources and training for groups doing voter registration and canvassing. She said they want to avoid people being prosecuted for making an honest mistake while attempting to vote because of uncertainty about their voting rights, or receiving the wrong information about their voting status at the polls.

"Last Election Day, in 2022, we got a lot of calls to our hotline from folks in Georgia who had been registered to vote, but they showed up at the polls and were told that they were 'ineligible' because of past felony convictions," she said, "and that information was incorrect."

She said that's one reason it's important for people to check their voting registration status long before Election Day. For people who run into issues, Bowie recommended contacting the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.


Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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