Group encourages voter registration with focus on felons

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Marking National Voter Registration Day, one group in Grand Rapids set out to get as many people as possible registered, including felons.

The group, which includes sorority sisters from Delta Sigma Theta, set up shop Tuesday outside of Ellnora’s Kitchen and Urban Family Ministries on Eastern Avenue SE near Baxter Street.

Worker Deborah Clanton took it seriously, using a blow horn to grab people’s attention and get them registered.

“I always call the vote the great equalizer. One person, one vote,” Clanton said.

In the first hour, 14 people registered to vote — some for the first time and others updating their registration with a new address.

A sign at a voter registration event informs people convicted of felonies of their rights. (Sept. 22, 2020)

The group was also focused on educating convicted felons about their right to vote. In Michigan, you are allowed to vote if you have a felony on your record. Voting rights are restored after being released from prison, meaning felons who are on parole or probation can vote. People in jail awaiting arraignment or trial can vote absentee.

If you couldn’t make it out to the event, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office website has instructions on how to get registered.