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October 15, 2012 (The Daily Tar Heel)

Who Isn’t Voting!

Zaina Alsous wrote  in The Daily Tar Heel, the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, that “one question will leverage a huge impact on the election results: Who won’t be voting?”

She noted that according to The Sentencing Project report, State-Level Estimates of Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States, 2010, about 5.85 million Americans are denied the right to vote due to laws that “prohibit voting by people with felony convictions.”

“Felon disenfranchisement laws vary from state to state but racial inequities are constant. Florida, for example, is one of three states that removes voting rights for life from residents with past felony convictions. This has resulted in nearly one in three African-American men in Florida being unable to vote.

“In North Carolina, once residents charged with a felony have completed their sentencing, parole and probation time, their voting rights are fully restored.

“Yet that still leaves more than 82,000 North Carolinians disenfranchised-- more than half African Americans.

To put these numbers into perspective,  she noted that “Obama won North Carolina in 2008 by just about  14,000 votes.”

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Collateral Consequences