In the United States, up to 17 million Americans with prior convictions could register to vote today. Many more are eligible to restore their right to vote through an application process. However, millions are confused about whether they have the right to vote — or can have their rights restored — because of unnecessarily complicated and opaque felony disenfranchisement laws.
Every state except Maine and Vermont has some form of voting restriction on people with past felony convictions but only a handful of states permanently disenfranchise people with convictions. Felony disenfranchisement laws vary widely by state and the restoration process is often difficult or confusing. Even in states with less restrictive laws, many people remain unaware of their rights, as states often make no attempt to educate citizens with past felony convictions on their ability to vote after they have paid their debt to society.
During the call policy experts and activists working on felony disenfranchisement discuss efforts to help citizens restore their voting rights across the country.
- Blair Bowie, Skadden Foundation Fellow/Law Clerk, CLC
- Durrel Douglas, Founder & President, Houston Justice
- Nicole Porter, Director of Advocacy, The Sentencing Project
- Neil Volz, Political Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
Moderated by Kimberly Hall, Senior Manager, Communications Campaigns, CLC
Listen to the call: