x
Breaking News
More () »

Washington, DC's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Washington, DC | WUSA9.com

VERIFY: Yes, a protester would lose voting rights if convicted of a felony in TN when new law goes into effect

Across social media, posts have started to circulate, warning that one could lose their voting rights if they participate in protests.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — QUESTION:

Will being arrested at a protest cause you to lose your voting rights?

ANSWERS:

No, you can’t lose your voting rights for being arrested during a protest.

But after a new law goes into effect in Tennessee, a protester would lose their voting rights if they are convicted of a felony. 

SOURCES:

Tennessee General Assembly
HB 8005 by Rep. William Lamberth (R - District 44)
SB 8005 by Senator Jack Johnson (R - District 23)

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R)

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett (R) 

PROCESS:

Across social media, posts have started to circulate, warning that one could lose their voting rights if they participate in protests. 

"If you're arrested for protesting BLM," one person Tweeted. "You'll lose your voting rights."

To Verify, our researchers traced the source of these tweets back to articles out of Tennessee with headlines like “protesters in Tennessee could now lose their rights to vote."

So what's been going on in Tennessee?

For the past two months, protesters have been demonstrating and occupying the Ida B. Wells Plaza in front of the Capitol in Nashville around the clock.

Credit: Sully Barrett @SullyBarrett

In response, the Tennessee legislature introduced and passed HB 8005 and SB 8005, and Gov. Bill Lee signed the new legislation revising certain criminal laws surrounding protest-related offenses.

The new law revises laws concerning vandalism, assault, disorderly conduct, rioting, obstructing of traffic, camping on state property and other offenses. It goes into effect on Oct. 1, amending Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 8; Title 38; Title 39 and Title 40.

One of the things the new law does is increases the punishment for illegal camping on state property from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to six years in jail.

According to the Secretary of State, convicted felons in Tennessee lose their right to vote and have to appeal to the state to have them restored.

So we can Verify, you can’t lose your voting rights for being arrested during a protest. But we can Verify that a protester would lose their voting rights if they are convicted of a felony in Tennessee after this law goes into effect.

Download the brand new WUSA9 app here.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.