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FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT



Nationally, an estimated 5.85 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions. Felony disenfranchisement is an obstacle to participation in democratic life which is exacerbated by racial disparities in the criminal justice system, resulting in 1 of every 13 African Americans unable to vote.

U.S. Felony Disenfranchisement Laws by State

Felony Disenfranchisement News
December 9, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Statement by The Sentencing Project for Senate Hearing on the State of Human and Civil Rights

The Sentencing Project submitted a statement today for inclusion in the record of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on “The State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.”  

We commend Chairman Dick Durbin for continuing his examination of the policies and practices that contribute to excessive imprisonment and racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system. In this written statement, we seek to bring attention to the causes of mass incarceration and racial injustice, the failures of mandatory minimum penalties, and the deeply problematic policy of felony disenfranchisement.


December 1, 2014
Disenfranchisement News

Iowa: ACLU files lawsuit challenging voting laws

Florida: Advocates take action to restore voting rights on 2016 ballot

National: "The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement"


November 7, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Hot Off the Presses: The Sentencing Project's 2014 Newsletter

Our 2014 Newsletter is out! Read it to find out what we’ve been up to in the last year, including:

  • How three states – New York, New Jersey, and California – reduced their prison populations in the range of 25% and saw their crime rates generally decline even faster than the national average
  • Updates on federal sentencing reform, including the United States Sentencing Commission’s decision to apply their reduced sentencing guidelines retroactively to 46,000 people currently serving time for drug offenses
  • How state advocates from across the country gained insight and support in strategizing for racial impact statements from The Sentencing Project during our State Advocacy Convening

…and much more!


October 24, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Disenfranchisement News

Civil Rights Commission reports call for reform

California: 'Let me Vote' campaign spreads voting rights awareness

Florida: Candidate forced to withdraw due to prior felony conviction

Michigan: NAACP brings voting booths to county jails

Mississippi: Slim chance of reform during an election year

Ohio: Judge orders voting access for people jailed the weekend before an election

Wyoming: New bill to cut wait time for voting rights restoration

National: Felony disenfranchisement infographic


October 2, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Felony Disenfranchisement and the 2014 Midterm Elections

As the 2014 midterm elections approach, an estimated 5.85 million Americans will be unable to exercise their voting rights due to a current or previous felony conviction. Of the total disenfranchised population, 2.6 million have completed their sentences, yet are disenfranchised in the 12 states with the most restrictive policies. Overall, 75% of disenfranchised individuals are living in the community, either under probation or parole supervision, or having completed their sentences. Disenfranchisement policies have potentially affected the outcomes of previous U.S. elections, particularly as disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact communities of color, leaving one in every 13 black adults voiceless in the electoral process.