About 800,000 felons have regained the right to vote as a result of state reforms in the last 13 years, says the Washington, D.C.-based Sentencing Project in a new report. The group says that 23 states have amended felony disenfranchisement policies since 1997 to reduce their restrictiveness and expand voter eligibility. Among them, nine states either repealed or amended lifetime disenfranchisement laws; three states expanded voting rights to persons under community supervision, and eight states eased the restoration process for persons seeking to have their voting rights restored.
States whose actions affected the most people were Texas, where a repeal of a two-year waiting period before regaining eligibility to vote restored voting rights to 317,000; a simplifiation of Florida’s clemency process resulted in the restoration of voting rights for 152,000 residents; Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack restored voting rights to nearly 100,000 citizens; and New Mexico’s repal of a lifetime disenfranchisement law restored the right to vote to more than 69,000 people.