Skip to main content
Publications

Expanding the Vote: State Felony Disenfranchisement Reform, 1997-2010

October 11, 2010
Since 1997, 23 states have amended felony disenfranchisement policies in an effort to reduce their restrictiveness and expand voter eligibility.

In recent years, significant reforms in felony disenfranchisement policies have been achieved at the state level.

Increased public exposure has resulted in expanding civil rights through legislative initiatives to individuals with felony convictions and to neighborhood-level efforts to educate and register people with felony convictions. This escalation in attention to felony disenfranchisement policies has translated into substantial state-level reform. This report provides an overview of reforms that have taken place since 1997. We find that since 1997, 23 states have amended felony disenfranchisement policies in an effort to reduce their restrictiveness and expand voter eligibility.

These policy changes represent national momentum for reform of restrictive voting rights laws. As a result of the reforms achieved during the period from 1997-2010, an estimated 800,000 persons have regained the right to vote.

To read the report, download the PDF below.

Note: An update to this report was published in 2018.

 
Related Posts
publications
October 14, 2020

Free the Vote

A new video by The Sentencing Project introduces you to four Americans eager to vote and regain their rights of citizenship.
publications
October 30, 2020

Locked Out 2020: Estimates of People Denied Voting Rights Due to a Felony Conviction

Chris Uggen, Ryan Larson, Sarah Shannon, and Arleth Pulido-Nava
5.2 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of felony disenfranchisement, or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes.