Court: Money owed can’t block voting rights for NC felons

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Stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. North Carolina is scheduled to begin sending out more than 600,000 requested absentee ballots to voters on Friday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

A North Carolina court has ruled that outstanding restitution, fees or other court-imposed monetary obligations can’t prevent convicted felons from voting if they’ve completed all other portions of their sentence. The three-judge panel of Wake County Superior Court issued the ruling on Friday.

But the judges declined to settle other aspects of a lawsuit that also argues probation, parole and post-release supervision are unfair impediments to voting for those who have completed their incarceration.

The ruling could pave the way for thousands of felons to have their voting rights restored amid hotly contested races for the presidency and U.S. Senate in the battleground state.

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