Voter Rights Restoration Workshops help those convicted of certain crimes get back to the polls

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  Many agencies are working together to make sure a certain group of people knows they have the right to vote. There are workshops available to people convicted of certain crimes who may have lost this right, or believe they have.

Thanks to a law recently passed in Alabama, those convicted of certain crimes are able to restore their voting rights. If you've committed a crime of moral turpitude, you can take necessary steps to get your right back. This is anything from forgery to robbery and even manslaughter.

"They need to request a certification of eligibility to register to vote," Kathy Jones, President of League of Women Voters in the Tennessee Valley.

If you've been convicted of less serious crimes, you never lost your voting rights.

"They can go straight to register to vote immediately without any further steps," Jones explained.

The League of Women Voters, the Alabama Nonviolent Offenders Organization and the Campaign Legal Center are hosting helpful workshops on Saturday, March 10.  The two morning sessions will help people who need to apply for voting rights restoration.

"We'll have an attorney, a voting rights attorney, at both locations."

Organizers say the issue is some people simply don't know where to begin.

"There have been studies that have estimated that there could be upwards of 260,000 Alabamians who lost their right to vote, they're disenfranchised," Jones said.

But hopefully, Saturday's workshops change many mindsets. The workshops are set for 9:00 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. One is at 2448 Shepard Drive NE in Huntsville. The other is happening at the United Way building located at 701 Andrew Jackson Way NE.

For those who want to spread awareness of voter rights restoration, you are invited to the volunteer training clinic. That is happening on Saturday from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Union Chapel located on 315 Winchester Road NE in Huntsville.

The afternoon clinic will inform people of the recent changes to the Alabama moral turpitude laws and how it impacts people. It will also show people how to organize, publicize and support a voter rights restoration clinic.

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