I’m following up with more thoughts about what’s happening with voting rights laws in this country. This post goes directly to the brothers and sisters with criminal records because “time served” doesn’t always mean “rights restored.” Here’s how voting rights changes could affect you – and what you can do about it.
Voting Rights for Felons
According to the reform group The Sentencing Project, more than 5 million people could be denied the right to vote because of a felony conviction. Most states allow felons to vote, but the rules are different in each state, and the process of restoring voting rights can be laborious and confusing. In some states, voting rights for convicted felons are not automatically restored after the sentence is over. In some states, felons with certain types of convictions aren’t allowed to vote. But then, in two other states, an incarcerated felon is allowed to vote. The laws are all over the place.
So, this Brennan Center link is a good place to start: It shows you a simple map to help you understand what the general rules are in each state.
And, this Nonprofit Vote website is a great resource with a more detailed breakdown of the laws for felons in each state.
Finally, here is another Sentencing Project link that gives a full list of names, email address, and phone numbers for people in each state that can answer your questions and help you get your voting rights restored.
There’s still time to find out what you can do in your state to get yourself registered. Remember when it comes to your right to vote — Don’t Sleep!