Legal challenges are pending in at least four states – Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Washington – seeking to overturn state laws that ban thousands of prisoners and former prisoners from the polls, even after they serve their sentences, USA Today reports. In other states, laws that allow prisoners and ex-offenders to vote have created uncertainty. In Maine and Vermont, all prisoners can vote. For felons in Alaska and Washington state, only those who have completed their sentences may cast ballots.
Laws regulating felons’ voting rights is under scrutiny by party leaders, corrections officials, and lawyers involved in legal challenges as voter drives sweep the country. “It’s mass confusion,” says Nancy Abudu of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is challenging a Tennessee law that requires felons to pay any child support owed and satisfy all restitution requirements related to their sentences before they can vote. USA Today describes disputes in Alabama, Florida, Alaska, and Texas.