In order to strengthen democracy and address significant racial disparities, states must pass reforms establishing universal voting for people impacted by the criminal legal system.
5.2 million people in the United States are currently denied access to the vote because of a felony conviction. The number of people disenfranchised has grown, from 1.2 million in 1976, as a product of mass incarceration and supervision. Of people denied the vote, one in four (1,240,000) are currently incarcerated. While many states have expanded access to the vote for people who have completed their sentences, only DC has joined Maine, Vermont, and Puerto Rico by granting full voting rights to people in prison. In order to strengthen democracy and address significant racial disparities, states must pass reforms establishing universal voting for people impacted by the criminal legal system.
Voting laws excluded 5.2 million Americans from participating in the 2020 election, but some reforms are opening up our democracy to voices long silenced. The above video introduces you to four Americans eager to vote and gain their rights of citizenship.
The Sentencing Project offered expert testimony before Oregon’s House Rules Committee In support of House Bill 2366, a Universal Suffrage Act. HB 2366 repeals the prohibition on voting by individuals convicted of a felony and serving a court–ordered sentence of imprisonment for their conviction.