The Senate Study Committee on Revising Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders decided Wednesday to keep Georgia’s constitution as it is.
The members voted 3-2 in favor of continuing to restrict nearly 250,000 convicted Georgia felons from voting.
According to Georgia’s law, people who have been convicted of crimes with moral turpitude cannot vote until they complete their full sentence, including probation or parole. The U.S. Department of Justice defines moral turpitude as “conduct that shocks the public conscience.”
The state’s constitution does not clearly define the term, however, leaving all felonies subject to the law.
The committee was created to study which specific nonviolent crimes should be eligible for voting rights restoration based upon the moral turpitude exemption. Over four months, the committee heard testimony from advocacy groups on different sides of criminal justice reform.
According to the Georgia Center for Opportunity, one in 13 adults in Georgia is in jail, prison, on probation or parole. That’s significantly higher than the national average of one in 31.