(AL.com) — Thousands of felons across Alabama have registered to vote in recent weeks, according to Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, who is heading up a statewide effort to get felons to the voting booth.
Glasgow's goal is to get as many felons as possible signed up to vote before the end of the day Monday, the deadline to be able to cast a ballot in Alabama's Dec. 12 U.S. Senate special election.
"In the last month, I think we registered at least five- to ten-thousand people all over the state," Glasgow, president of Dothan's The Ordinary People Society (TOPS) advocacy group, said Monday. "I've got people all over the state registering people with my TOPS branches in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Enterprise, Dothan, Abbeville, Geneva, Gordon, Bessemer, we have a lot."
For generations, most Alabamians convicted of a felony were barred from ever voting in the state again, but the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act, a new law passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in May, cleared the way for thousands of felons to restore their voting rights.
The law lists several dozen felony convictions that are considered crimes "of moral turpitude," which means that anyone convicted of one of them loses the right to vote; other felons are now eligible to restore that right. Previously, the list of crimes that some registrars considered to be "of moral turpitude" was not clearly defined, and many felons simply believed they could never regain the franchise.