Voting Rights

The Sentencing Project’s new report, “Out of Step: U.S. Policy on Voting Rights in Global Perspective,” reveals that the United States is out of step with the rest of the world in disenfranchising large numbers of citizens based on criminal convictions.

The report examines the laws of 136 countries around the world, and finds that the majority never or rarely deny a person’s right to vote because of a criminal conviction. In the other 63 countries, where some laws deny the right to vote, the U.S. sits at the top of the restrictive end of the spectrum, disenfranchising a wider swath of people overall.

The Ballot Bulletin

Expanding the Vote in Nebraska, Colorado, and more!

Nebraska passed legislation to expand voting rights to over 7,000 people with felony convictions and Colorado state partners are working to expand in-person voting to every jail in the state. Learn how The Sentencing Project works in partnership with coalitions and directly impacted people across the country to expand voting rights for all.

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Voting Rights

Key Publications

State Advocacy

State-Specific Voting Rights Reports

In 2022, 4.4 million Americans were banned from voting due to a felony conviction. The Sentencing Project is committed to expanding voting rights in every state and works with state partners to provide specific data on state felony disenfranchisement.

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Anytime a member of a society is not afforded the right to express his or her opinions by way of the democratic process, we cannot achieve the ideals of democracy.

Joel Castón
Washington, DC Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner
Voting Rights

Testimony in Support of California Bill to Expand Voting Access to County Jails

Bob Libal testifies in support of California’s Assembly Bill 544, which would provide grants to three counties to place polling locations in county jails and improve access for people detained to exercise their voting rights.

Several stickers that say I voted are in apile on a table.

Unlocking the Ballot: Using Data to Expand Voting Rights

This webinar discusses how academics and advocates are using data and research to advance voting rights campaigns. We look at what the data shows as effective ways to engage justice-impacted communities and emerging areas of research.

Click here to watch.

Voting Rights

Effective democracy requires universal voting access and guaranteed voting rights for all citizens. Laws that ban people with felony convictions from voting, or policies that undermine voting by incarcerated people eligible to vote, harm our democracy and the millions of citizens who are excluded from it. These voting bans have disproportionately diluted the political power of Black and brown communities. Help us end voting restrictions for people with felony convictions by sharing these facts on social media.

  • 4.4 million

    Americans are banned from voting due to felony convictions.

  • 48 states

    bar people from voting in prison. Only Maine, Vermont, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico allow voting in prison.

  • 1 in 19

    voting-age Black Americans have lost their voting rights due to a felony conviction—3.5 times the rate among non-Black Americans.

Young woman leading a demonstration using a megaphone
Get involved

Join the movement to expand voting rights for all

Help us apply political and legal pressure to ensure that a person’s criminal legal system involvement does not influence their voting eligibility or lead to other permanent exclusions and limitations from civic life.

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