MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s secretary of state has sent county voter registrars a reminder that residents who are convicted for simple marijuana possession are still eligible to vote and should not be blocked from registering.
The reminder came after a discovery that some people in Houston County were wrongly kept off the voting rolls.
“It threw me,” said Yoli Taylor, 36, who lives in Dothan, the county seat. Taylor said when she asked why her voter-registration card hadn’t come in the mail, she was told she was ineligible because of a nearly 10-year-old conviction for marijuana possession. “I voted in 2012 and nothing has changed,” she said.
Secretary of State Jim Bennett said once his office found out about the confusion, it sent a reminder to the state’s registrars.
The Alabama Constitution says that residents convicted of felony crimes of “moral turpitude” cannot vote, but there is often confusion about what crimes fall in this category.
Possessing marijuana for personal use does not; possession with the intent of resale does, said Bennett’s chief legal adviser, Jean Brown.
Brown said she did not think the problem was widespread and that most registrars were following the law correctly.
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