Poll: Majority of Tennesseans Back Felon Voting Rights

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A wide margin of Tennesseans support allowing people convicted of felonies to vote after they’ve served their time, according to a new poll released Thursday by a national advocacy group, the Commercial Appeal reports. According to the poll from Secure Democracy, 67 percent of Tennessee voters support legislation that would allow people with felony convictions to vote again after they’ve completed their sentences and paid their court fees.

Secure Democracy is a nonpartisan group that works on election issues. That support holds among voters affiliated with both political parties. The poll shows that 60 percent of Tennessee Republicans support restoring voting for felons who have fulfilled the requirements of their sentences, according to the poll. So do 78 percent of Democrats. The poll found strong support remained for restoring voting rights for felons who still had outstanding court costs, as long as they had fulfilled other requirements of their sentences, like good behavior and staying off drugs. Eligible felons already can restore their voting rights in Tennessee, but the process is complicated, and the state requires applying felons to be completely up to date with child support payments, even if those payments had nothing to do with their criminal conviction. The new legislation would have eased that requirement.

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