On August 14, 2018, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) launched RestoreYourVote.org – an online resource to help people with convictions in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico understand their voting rights. Since the launch, the site has had nearly 70,000 visitors seeking to learn more about voting rights restoration in their state.
Felony disenfranchisement laws vary widely by state and the rights restoration process can be difficult and 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.
CLC launched RestoreYourVote.org to help visitors navigate voting rights restoration processes across the country and to break down the false notion that a felony conviction always means you cannot vote.
In the United States, up to 18 million Americans with prior convictions can 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 laws and a lack of simple, easy-to-understand resources.
Arizona resident Dennis Eckhoff went 12 years without voting because of misinformation. Learn more about how he used RestoreYourVote.org to understand his voting rights.
At RestoreYourVote.org, visitors answer simple questions about their convictions to determine if they are eligible to vote right now, or eligible to go through the process to restore their right to vote in their state. The website also features the RestoreYourVote.org hotline, which provides callers with direct rights restoration services.
In addition to the launch of RestoreYourVote.org, CLC has trained and hired on-the-ground organizers in Alabama, Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee – states with particularly complicated rights restoration laws. The organizers have directly assisted more than 5,000 people with past felony convictions with their voting rights and empowered thousands of community leaders to understand rights restoration laws in their states.
In the year since the launch of RestoreYourVote.org, several states have eased voting restrictions for those with past convictions.
In 2019, Nevada and Colorado revised their laws to re-enfranchise individuals upon release from incarceration. In Nevada, CLC sent a letter of support encouraging Governor Steve Sisolak to sign the bill. The law went into effect on July 1, 2019, restoring voting rights to more than 77,000 people.
In Louisiana, the legislature passed a new law that re-enfranchises people with convictions who have not been imprisoned in the last five years.
In November 2018, a majority of voters in Florida passed Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to over a million Floridians. The state legislature has since passed a bill, which was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, which requires payments of debt associated with previous convictions. CLC is challenging the law on behalf of those who have served their time and want an opportunity to fully participate in their communities.
RestoreYourVote.org is here to help residents of those states make sense of how these changes affect their right to vote.
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 fighting – in the courts and on-the-ground – to ensure that Americans with past felony convictions can vote and have voice in the political process.
Learn more about CLC’s voting rights restoration work.