Each state has different laws regarding who can and cannot vote. In the state of Georgia, a person who has been convicted of a felony may be barred from voting, which, in and of itself, is not unusual. In other states, this restriction is usually applied based on a specific reason or crime of which a person was convicted. In Georgia, however, the law is worded so vaguely that some lawmakers themselves admit they do not understand it. Legal defense against felony charges could help save a person's right to cast his or her ballot.
The problem seems to lie in wording that has not been changed since the Civil War. In other states, laws that bar felons from voting often list specific crimes for which such punishment is applicable. Georgia law says that any person convicted of a felony of "moral turpitude" may not vote, even after he or she has completed a prison sentence.
The word turpitude means wicked or depraved. Surely, these are not cut and dry legal terms, but a matter of opinion. The laws offer no further clarification. Many Georgia residents that have been convicted of felonies have put in years of hard work to atone for the crimes, and have since been able to obtain gainful employment, raise children, and be productive citizens. Many feel the loss of voting rights is unfair, especially under such unclear wording.
Many residents and lawmakers are asking the state to clarify and update this law, but until this happens, any person convicted of a felony could lose his or her right to vote. If a person in Georgia is charged with a felony, he or she may want to get help from a knowledgeable attorney to prepare a solid legal defense against felony charges. An attorney can help a client through each step of the legal process, and help aim for a favorable verdict for the accused.