Although there are small victories holding against the tide of voter suppression, there is still a long way to go.
A federal judge ruled Friday that Alabama election officials don’t have to tell those affected about a change in state voting qualifications that may give thousands of convicted felons the right to vote.
The ruling came in response to a request from lawyers from the Campaign Legal Center, on behalf of 10 voters over a law that prohibited anyone who committed a “felony of moral turpitude” from voting. In May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a law defining exactly which offenses constituted a crime of moral turpitude, earning widespread praise. But Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) told HuffPost in June the state wouldn’t undertake any effort to target people affected by the change and let them know they’re now eligible to vote.
The 10 voters filed a motion for preliminary injunction requesting that the state promote these changes. However, in a 35-page ruling, W. Keith Watkins, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, said that the plaintiffs hadn’t demonstrated that they faced irreparable injury and weren’t being denied the right to vote.
He also said that the changes were promoted widely and that it would be too much of a burden on the secretary of state’s small election staff to find the voters.
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that the changes could affect thousands of mostly African-American potential voters. Advocates also note that the new measure may cause confusion to those who were once told they could not vote but are now eligible.
The Monday registration deadline has already passed for a special election to replace former Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, who gave up his post to take on the job of U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration.
CNN has reported that the primary is scheduled for Aug. 15, followed by a Sept. 26 runoff and the general election in December.
Read more at HuffPost.