No Taxation Without Representation Campaign
Over 250,000 law-abiding Georgia citizens are denied the right to vote.
Representation in exchange for taxation was one of the founding principles of the United States of America. It embodies our national resistance to tyranny. Yet in 2020, centuries after the U.S. gained freedom, justice, and democracy, Georgia has more people on parole and probation than any other state, and remains one of 30 states that does not restore voting rights upon release from prison. Such denial subverts the dignity of the American democratic experience.
The power of the vote is the power of self-determination. It’s the ability to have a say so in deciding what we believe to be best for ourselves, our families and our communities. To deny access to government and the distribution of power that exercises authority over us, while at the same time imposing scores of taxes upon us, is fundamentally unAmerican and needs to be corrected immediately. We’re all humans and we all make bad decisions. None of us want to be defined by the mistakes we made in the past, or to be denied our rights because of poor choices, particularly when we’ve learned from those mistakes, grown, and are now actively better because of it.
We are resolved to change the Georgia law that prohibits citizens who are on parole or probation or who owe court fines or fees from exercising their right to vote. We believe that as long as a person is a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, they must have access to the institutions that govern their life. This is the fundamental basis for all American laws and values, and to disregard it is to disregard our noble democracy.
Join us in taking a huge step in eradicating this state sponsored second class citizenship by calling upon our Georgia state legislature to bring back dignity to hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens (neighbors, friends, and family members) and fully restore their right to vote.
On Voting in Georgia
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about who can and cannot vote in Georgia when they have a criminal record. Below is some information on voting rights in Georgia.
I’ve been arrested in Georgia
If you aren’t serving a sentence for a felony conviction and are registered to vote, you are eligible to vote.
I was sentenced under the First Offender Act
A felony first offender case isn’t considered a conviction unless the first offender status is revoked by a judge. If your status is that of a first offender and it has not been revoked, you are eligible to vote. If that status was revoked, you are not eligible to vote until the sentence is completed.
I am currently in jail
If you aren’t serving a felony conviction, you are eligible to vote. To register, you must mail the registration application to a local registration office.
I was convicted of a misdemeanor
You are eligible to vote. Only those convicted of a felony are ineligible until the completion of the sentence.
I pled “Nolo Contendere” to a felony offense
If you’ve pled “Nolo”, meaning “I do not wish to contend”, you are still eligible to vote, even while serving the sentence.
I am currently in prison
Unless you have been sentenced under the First Offender Act, your are ineligible to vote until the sentence is completed.
I am on probation
If the probation is for a misdemeanor conviction, or a conviction under the First Offender Act, then you are eligible to vote. You are not eligible to vote on probation for a felony until the sentence is complete, and the fines and/or fees are paid.
By election day, you must be at least 18 years old, and have a photo ID. You must be a U.S. citizen, a Georgia resident, and have not been declared mentally incompetent.
How to register
You can apply online here. You can also go to your local registration or election office, the public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools, and other government offices for a mail-in form.
Criminal history documentation
You are not required to provide any criminal history documentation to register to vote. Granted, some people have been wrongfully removed from registration due to their criminal record, so securing a Certificate of Sentence Completion from the Department of Community Supervision can help establish that you are eligible to vote.
I am still serving a sentence for a felony
Do not register to vote. It is against the law to register to vote in Georgia when you know that you are not eligible.