Many prisoners in Alabama jails have the right to vote, but a Democratic activist’s efforts to register them and supply them with absentee ballots was halted after the chair of the state Republican Party complained, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. The Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, an advocate for inmate and felon voting rights and director of The Ordinary People Society, was going into state prisons and registering inmates, particularly those convicted of drug possession. Rep. Mike Hubbard complained to Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen, who stopped the effort in its tracks.
Allen shut down the registration based on a law that “makes it unlawful to use any state-owned property  to promote or advance candidates for election.” Allen said that while it wasn’t clear if the act of assisting voters to register was a violation of those provisions, “I cannot expose departmental employees to that possibility.” Marc Mauer of the Washington, D.C.-based Sentencing Project says there’s not much legal obligation to help eligible inmates vote, but the trend in the U.S. is to make it easier for all people to vote.