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.
At RestoreYourVote.org, users from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, will be able to answer key questions about their convictions and determine if they are eligible to vote right now, or eligible to go through the process to restore their right to vote.
In addition to the launch of RestoreYourVote.org, CLC has trained and hired on-the-ground organizers in Alabama, Arizona, Nevada and Texas to directly educate people with past felony convictions about their voting rights. We started by launching similar efforts in Alabama, as the state changed its felony disenfranchisement laws, but made no attempt to educate the public about the change.
At CLC, we know that democracy works best when all citizens can vote without barriers, and that those who have paid their debt to society deserve a second chance. That is why we are working hard to ensure that Americans with past felony convictions can vote. We have been fighting -- in the courts and on-the-ground --to make sure these individuals who have paid their debt to society truly have a second chance.