Louisiana voting rights change not causing surge in signups

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana law change earlier this year restored voting rights to thousands of convicted felons, but at most, only a few hundred have registered to vote so far.

Data from the secretary of state’s office shows modest upticks in the number of felons who have registered to vote since the law loosened March 1.

Louisiana legislators agreed to allow people on probation or parole for a felony to register to vote if they haven’t been incarcerated for at least five years, a change estimated to make 36,000 felons eligible for voter registration.

But since the law took effect, 581 felons have had their voting rights restored. The secretary of state’s office has said it cannot determine which were able to register specifically because of the law change.

The data shows 82 felons had their voting rights reinstated in February before the voting rights restoration took effect. By comparison, the number was 77 in March and 88 in April. The secretary of state numbers show 179 felons had their voting rights reinstated in May, followed by 99 in June and 138 in July.

Some supporters of the voting rights restoration have said officials are doing too little to reach out to the potential voters and the multistep registration process is too complicated.