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Guilford County voter drive aims to get those with felony convictions registered

The Guilford County Sheriff's Office, You Can Vote and the NAACP are holding a drive to help those on probation or parole get registered.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Guilford County voter drive is working to get those on probation, parole or post release supervision registered to vote.

The drive is being held at the Guilford County Courthouse Plaza in High Point and Greensboro on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. through October 13th.

Over 50,000 North Carolinians with felony convictions regained their right to vote in a case still before the state Supreme Court. 

According to the Associated Press, the case challenged a 1973 law that prevented someone with a felony from having voting rights restored while they are still on probation, parole or post-release supervision. A panel of trial judges struck down the law in March, claiming it violates the state constitution and discriminates against Black residents. That decision is being appealed to the state Supreme Court. 

Kate Fellman, the executive director of You Can Vote, said the state high court isn't expected to take up the case until at least December 2022 so, for now, those with felony convictions on probation, parole or post release supervision can vote.

"As of now, this is the rule, and we are hoping to get everyone who is now eligible under this rule to participate in this year‘s elections since this is being challenged, and it might go away, but it is the rule for this election," Fellman said. 

RELATED: Some North Carolina offenders can now register and vote, board of election officials say

The Guilford County voter drive is an effort by the Guilford County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) Reentry Council, You Can Vote and the NAACP-Greensboro Chapter to help get people registered.

"When you let people know that they haven’t been forgotten, and they still have a voice, they stand a little taller and are excited that they can re-enter society with a new chance, and use their voice to better (...) the living conditions of their communities," said Fellman. 

Unlock Our Vote, a collection of social advocacy organizations, is on a "summer tour" to educate and register those with felony convictions who are now out of prison.

"Felony convictions create a countless number of barriers when trying to have a successful reentry back into society. The opportunity to vote will assist convicted felons with integration back into their communities," said a press release from GCSO. 

RELATED: NC judges strike down law that prevented people convicted of felonies from registering to vote

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