Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on September 14, 2008

The Sentencing Project, Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States: “Since the founding of the country, most states in the U.S. have enacted laws disenfranchising convicted felons and ex-felons. In the last 30 years, due to the dramatic expansion of the criminal justice system, these laws have significantly affected the political voice of many American communities. The momentum toward reform of these policies has been based on a reconsideration of their wisdom in meeting legitimate correctional objectives and the interests of full democratic participation.”

September 12, 2008 – Disenfranchisement News – New York: Voting Rights Education Hits the Road – Nevada: Automatically Eligible, but You Have to Know the Rules – North Carolina: Campaigning off the Beaten Path- Tennessee: NAACP Offers Restoration

New York Times: States Restore Voting Rights for Ex-Convicts: “Felony disenfranchisement — often a holdover from exclusionary Jim Crow-era laws like poll taxes and ballot box literacy tests — affects about 5.3 million former and current felons in the United States, according to voting rights groups. But voter registration and advocacy groups say that recent overhauls of these Reconstruction-era laws have loosened enough in some states to make it worth the time to lobby statehouses for more liberal voting restoration processes, and to try to track down former felons in indigent neighborhoods.”

“The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Mississippi filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the state’s denial of voting rights to citizens with felony convictions. Although the Mississippi Constitution permits people who have been convicted of a crime to vote for president and vice president, election administrators are denying that right in practice. In today’s filings, the ACLU asked the court to allow these citizens to register to vote in time to cast ballots for president and vice president this November.”

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