Suffrage Bills Signed

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Bills signed last week by Gov. Haley Barbour restored suffrage to Earnestine Robinson of Noxubee County and Charlene Moore of Claiborne County.

In 1996, Robinson was fined $5,000 and given a five year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to the fraud charges. She pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false mileage and meal reimbursement claims for transporting Medicaid patients to kidney dialysis.

Robinson worked as a volunteer but was reimbursed for her expenses. Welfare officials said she billed for trips she did not make and padded her mileage statements.

Moore, a former Claiborne County Board of Supervisors secretary, was convicted of embezzlement in 1998 and given a suspended five-year sentence and probation.

Then-supervisors Edward Carter and Charles Johnson pleaded guilty to submitting invoices from 1995 to 1997 to pay "ghost employees'' for work never performed and then cashing the checks.

Moore was convicted in the scheme. Carter and Johnson were each sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to repay the funds. They resigned and were replaced in special elections.

Bills to restore voting rights to Carter and Johnson passed the Senate this year but died in a House committee.

Mississippians convicted of certain felonies lose the right to vote, but the legislature can restore it.

The Mississippi Constitution sets out who can vote in state elections. General requirements are anyone over age 18 who has been a resident for one year. The constitution also lists 10 crimes that disqualify a person from voting. Those crimes are murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretense (includes burglary), perjury, forgery, embezzlement and bigamy.