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Black Votes Matter: Winston Salem State University

Source: Garrett Garms / Garrett Garms

An appeals court in NC has ruled that thousands of felons that are not incarcerated can now register to vote.

WRAL reports that the expansion of voting rights began today (July 27), one day after a string of local elections were held in the state. This is a result of a challenge to a 1973 law that prohibits the restoration of a felon’s voting rights while on probation, parole or post-release supervision. A panel of trial judges initially struck down the law in March, ruling that the law was against the State Constitution. They ruled that the law would have a discriminatory effect on Black residents.

In May, the State Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of that decision. That case is still pending. However, the justices did not touch on a ruling that prevented registration requests from the felons who weren’t in prison or jail from being fulfilled only through Tuesday. Therefore, these applicants are eligible to vote in future elections, including November’s general election. They will keep their right to vote unless the State Supreme Court reverses the trial court decision.

Under the challenged law, more than 56,000 North Carolinians were blocked from registering to vote.