High Court Turns Down Massachusetts Felons' Appeal

By Staff | October 18, 2010 | 11:54 AM EDT

Washington (AP) - The Supreme Court won't take the case of Massachusetts prison inmates who say they should be able to vote.

The court turned down the inmates' appeal Monday. Massachusetts and 47 other states generally prohibit incarcerated felons from voting. Maine and Vermont allow it.

In 2001, several jailed felons sued, saying not allowing them to vote violated the federal Voting Rights Act. They say keeping them from the polls is illegal because the percentage of imprisoned felons who are black or Hispanic is higher than the percentage in the state as a whole.

But the federal appeals court in Boston ruled Congress never intended to prohibit states from barring incarcerated felons from voting.

The case is Simmons v. Galvin, 09-920.