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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.

 
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