The ‘invisible voting bloc’: USPS cuts threaten ballot access for inmates
While pre-trial detainees make up only a small portion of the electorate, every vote could make a difference in a consequential election like November’s, said Danielle Lang of the Campaign Legal Center. Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 by 10,700 votes; there were 16,600 in the state’s jails awaiting trial that year. Even in states like Illinois with robust legal protections, postal service cuts could severely impact ballot access for incarcerated individuals, who often spend only a handful of days in jail at a time, said the Campaign Legal Center’s Lang. Mail disruptions mean ballots could get lost in the system or arrive after the deadline. “Right now they vote in very small numbers,” Lang said. “But that’s because we don’t have the mechanisms to facilitate their right to vote.”
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