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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
April 17, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Connecticut Governor calls for "Second Chance Society"

Connecticut: Governor Leads Effort for "Second Chance Society"

Kentucky: Addressing Sentence Lengths for Persons with Prior Felony Convictions

Massachusetts: Advocates Support Felony Reclassification and Reinvesting Savings

Other News: Alabama, Maryland, Missouri, and more...


April 10, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: MD legislature approves voting rights for people on probation & parole

Maryland: Legislature approves voting rights bill for people on probation and parole

Minnesota: Voting rights bill appears stalled

National: U.S. lawmakers introduce bill to restore voting rights after prison

International: Election newspaper distributed to Australian prisons and locked hospitals


March 9, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: Minnesota and Maryland Advance Probation and Parole Voting Legislation

Kentucky: Kentucky House passes voting rights bill

Minnesota: Bipartisan bill expands voting rights to people on probation and parole

Maryland: Lawmaker with prior arrest record champions voting rights bill

National: Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act

Books: African American Disenfranchisement


March 3, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Advocacy Campaign Leadership

Advocacy Leadership

Addressing Upstream Policies

Unlocking the Vote

Other News

State legislatures are in full swing. This year, legislation has been introduced in Kentucky to reclassify certain felony offenses to misdemeanors, eliminating prison as a sentencing option. Lawmakers in Maryland and Minnesota are considering expanding voting rights to persons on felony probation or parole. And advocates in Missouri are working to scale back the state's truth-in-sentencing provision for certain offenses.


February 3, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
Black Lives Matter: Eliminating Racial Inequity in the Criminal Justice System

Black Lives Matter: Eliminating Racial Inequity in the Criminal Justice SystemA new publication from The Sentencing Project provides a comprehensive review of programs and policies across the nation and identifies a broad range of initiatives that can address racial disparities at all levels of the criminal justice system. Black Lives Matter: Eliminating Racial Inequity in the Criminal Justice System highlights initiatives in more than 20 states designed to address the criminal justice system’s high rate of contact with people of color.

In the wake of the tragedies in Ferguson and other cities, excessive police contact has been identified as a major cause of the disproportionate rate of fatal police encounters for African Americans and Latinos. The report identifies four key features of the criminal justice system that produce racially unequal outcomes, beyond the conditions of socioeconomic inequality that contribute to higher rates of some crimes in marginalized communities, and showcases initiatives to abate these sources of inequity in adult and juvenile justice systems around the country.