By: Zach McDonnell

In May 2017, the Alabama Legislature did something unusual, especially for a state in many respects still steeped in the vestiges of the Jim Crow era: it made it easier for people with felony convictions to vote. On May 17, 2017, the Alabama Legislature passed the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act (DMTA); eight days later, Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law, which took effect on August 1, 2017. In contrast to Republican politicians such as Governors Terry Branstad of Iowa and Rick Scott of Florida, Alabama Republicans led the re-enfranchisement effort: Representative Mike Jones, a Republican from deeply white district in southern Alabama, introduced the bill, which passed 102-1 in the Alabama House and 29-6 in the Alabama Senate—in both of which Republicans have a supermajority.

Continue reading