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Two Percent Of Adults Have Felony Convictions, Can't Vote

An estimated two percent of the voting age population in the U.S. will be ineligible to cast ballots in this year's midterm elections due to state laws banning people with felony convictions from voting, NPR reports. That's according to the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that advocates for restoration of voting rights for people with prior felony convictions. "This report makes it clear that millions of our citizens will remain voiceless in the upcoming midterms," said the group's Amy Fettig. "Felony disenfranchisement is just the latest in a long line of attempts to restrict ballot access, just like poll taxes, literacy tests and property requirements were used in the past." The impact of bans on the books in 48 states varies significantly depending on where someone lives.


The Sentencing Project, says state-level disenfranchisement rates range from 0.15 percent in Massachusetts to more than eight percent in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. In Vermont and Maine (along with Washington, D.C.), no one is disenfranchised because those jurisdictions allow people in prison to vote. Currently, 11 states deny voting rights to people after they finish their full sentences, including parole and probation. The Sentencing Project found that state-level voting bans have a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino voters. It says, "1 in 19 African-Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate 3.5 times that of non-African Americans."

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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