By on 23 September, 2018 in Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

On Wednesday night we went to the campaign office of Tabitha Isner in an unassuming building over on Ann Street. But we weren’t there to campaign for her. Instead, we were there for nonpartisan civic engagement. We were going to volunteer our time and our cellphone minutes to the Alabama Voting Rights Project, a group that’s trying to make sure that people who are eligible to vote know it and get registered. It turns out that there are as many as 20,000 people newly eligible to vote in Alabama after the legislature and the Secretary of State changed the rules on the felony convictions that can permanently disenfranchise some people.

Like many states, Alabama disqualifies some felons from having the right to vote. We’ve got a law that, in an eighteenth century kind of way, says that some crimes offer evidence of the “moral turpitude” of the convicted, and thereby exiles those people from the most fundamental way to participate in a democratic society even after they have served their sentence. But starting in August of 2017, that list of disqualifying felonies is smaller. And that’s why we were volunteering on a Wednesday night.

After we got a phone script and had a brief training, we were given a list of names and numbers. We sat down to make calls. Most of the numbers were unanswered or disconnected, but we did reach some people who took down information for the folks in question. We also left a bunch of messages. Hopefully some of these people will register to vote and exercise their freedoms.

It’s actually very easy to register to vote. You can visit online. You can go to the website of the Alabama Secretary of State’s office to fill out a form. Or you can have one mailed to you.

The midterm elections are coming up on November 6. That’s pretty soon. No matter your political persuasion, it’s a time when you can go to the polls and try to get folks elected who will represent you and your views. Here at Midtown Montgomery Living, we hope that all of you vote, and we hope the same for everyone that’s eligible, whether we support the same candidates or not. For a lot of people, if you’re not voting for their candidate, they’d rather you not vote. We disagree. The whole system is stronger when everyone participates.

For more information about the Alabama Voting Rights Project, contact Sean Champagne at 334-235-7479

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