A report by The Sentencing Project finds a “national movement toward reform” of laws that bar voting by convicted felons.
The Washington-based advocacy group said eight states have removed barriers to voting by persons with felony convictions. The group’s study estimated 471,000 persons are now eligible to vote in the most heavily impacted states as a result of the reforms.
The states that have repealed or scaled back their disenfranchisement laws are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
Felons in prison cannot vote in 48 states (the exceptions are Maine and Vermont), while 33 states also disenfranchise felons on probation and/or parole. In 13 states a felony conviction can result in the loss of voting rights after completion of sentence, generally for life.
The national movement for reform of these laws was sparked by a 1998 report by Human Rights Watch and The Sentencing project that estimated that nearly 4 million Americans were barred
from voting as a result of these policies, including 13% of black males.
The new report, Legislative Changes on Felony
Disenfranchisement, is available at: