Sen. Young wins unanimous committee approval for bill clarifying voting rights after commutations/pardons

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 15:00

Sen. Young wins unanimous committee approval for bill clarifying voting rights after commutations/pardons Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Judiciary Committee has given unanimous approval to a measure clarifying Oklahoma statutes on voting rights for citizens convicted of a felony who’ve received a commutation or pardon. Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, is the Senate principal author of House Bill 1629, and Rep. Regina Goodwin, R-Tulsa, is the House principal author. 

Young said there’s been confusion about such voter eligibility for years and had previously requested an attorney general’s opinion seeking clarity on the issue. He said clarifying those voting rights in the statutes would ensure those eligible to participate in the electoral process would be able to do so. 

“Our criminal justice system is supposed to be aimed at helping return individuals to their communities to become engaged, productive citizens,” Young said. “Restoring voting rights encourages that kind of positive engagement. Clarifying voting eligibility in the statutes will ensure formerly justice-involved individuals can make that important transition, and that’s ultimately good for our entire state.”

HB 1629 clarifies that individuals convicted of a felony are eligible to register to vote if:

  • They received a commutation that reduced the sentence of any active felony conviction to time served and have no other outstanding sentence under any other felony conviction.
  • They received a commutation for a crime that has been reclassified from a felony to a misdemeanor with no remaining time to serve.
  • They have been granted a pardon pursuant to federal or state law and have no other outstanding sentence under any other felony conviction.

The measure now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

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