Felony Disenfranchisement

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What is Felony Disenfranchisement?

Felony disenfranchisement refers to the prohibition of one person from voting on the reason that s/he has been convicted of a felony. (USLegal.com) Felony disenfranchisement policies have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. An estimated 3.1 million people are disenfranchised due to state laws that restrict voting rights even after completion of sentences. (Sentencing Project)

On November 3, 2020, California voters will decide:

Proposition 17: Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment

Felony Disenfranchisement Statistics

  • In 2016, 6.1 million Americans could not vote because of a felony conviction. (Sentencing Project) 1 of every 13 African Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws vs. 1 in every 56 non-black voters. (Sentencing Project)
  • Felony disenfranchisement after a sentence was completed, especially for a broad category of offenses like all felonies, violates article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a human rights treaty to which the US is a party. (HRW)
  • On August 21, 2020, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed off on a bill that states that demonstrators who camp on state property can now be charged with a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, rather than a misdemeanor it was previously. Tennessee is one of 21 states that punish felons by taking away their right to vote. (CommonDreams)

Map of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws by State (ACLU)

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