Appeals court to hear case for freed felons to vote in Louisiana

Voting graphic by MGN.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Criminal justice advocates have gone to a Louisiana appeals court in Baton Rouge with their argument that the state violates its constitution by denying the right to vote to felons on parole or probation.

Louisiana's 1974 constitution allows suspension of voting rights for people who are "under an order of imprisonment" for a felony.

Lawyers for inmates and the group Voice of the Ex-Offender argue that a person on parole or probation is no longer under an order of imprisonment. They say a 1976 state law denying voting rights to an estimated 70,000 felons on probation or parole is unconstitutional.

State Judge Tim Kelly disagreed with that interpretation in March. He said the law was unfair, but constitutional.

The case now goes to Louisiana's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.