The Sentencing Project Applauds Voting Rights Reform in New Mexico
Voting Rights Act will guarantee voting rights for people on probation and parole
Washington, DC – Today, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the New Mexico Voting Rights Act into law. This historic legislation, among other pro-democracy reforms, automatically restores voting rights to over 11,000 citizens who are completing their felony sentence on probation or parole.
“OLÉ is excited to announce that formerly incarcerated community members will no longer be discouraged by the barriers that have prevented civic engagement, because today New Mexico became the 24th state to restore voting rights to people immediately upon release from incarceration,” said Justin Allen, Inclusive Democracy Organizer with OLÉ. “The Voting Rights Act has made elections more accessible for community members who have been marginalized by disenfranchisement.”
Across the country, over 4.6 million Americans, representing 2 percent of the total voting-age population, were ineligible to vote due to laws that prevent people with felony convictions from voting in 2022. Many of these laws and policies date back to the post-Reconstruction era of the late 1800s.
Black and Latinx people are disproportionately impacted by felony disenfranchisement, in New Mexico and around the country. One out of 30 Black New Mexicans of voting age was disenfranchised due to a felony conviction during the 2022 midterm election, while one in 65 Latinx New Mexicans of voting age were also ineligible to vote during the last election cycle.
“The Voting Rights Act will make New Mexico safer by expanding and guaranteeing voting rights for people with felony convictions. We applaud the activists, movement partners, and lawmakers who championed this legislation.” said Nicole D. Porter, Senior Director of Advocacy with The Sentencing Project. “We also encourage New Mexico lawmakers to finish the work guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of their incarceration status. While restoring voting rights to persons completing their felony sentence outside of prison is an important step forward, the work is not done in New Mexico.”
Across the country, there has been bipartisan support for protecting and expanding the right to vote to people who have a history with the criminal legal system. At least 14 states have introduced proposals this year focused on restoration and expansion of voting rights. Earlier this month in Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz signed a bill automatically restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions completing their sentence in the community.