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Pennsylvania denies the right to vote to 42,976 citizens due to confinement in prison or jail for a felony conviction. Pennsylvania restricts access to the ballot box at the second highest rate in the region, with only Delaware prohibiting a higher share of its citizens from voting.
Pennsylvania’s felony disenfranchisement laws reinforce the racial disparities in the state’s criminal legal system. These disparities have been documented at various decision points throughout the criminal justice system, from law enforcement encounters to corrections. For instance, Black Pennsylvanians comprise just 12% of the state’s population but represent nearly half of all persons confined to prison. Black Pennsylvanians are consequently over four times as likely to be disenfranchised as all Pennsylvanians. Disparities also extend to Latinx Pennsylvanians, who are disenfranchised at a rate that is 1.7 times the rate for all Pennsylvanians.