Nearly 6 Million Felons Can’t Vote, Despite Reforms in 23 States


The Sentencing Project reports that nearly 6 million Americans are prohibited from voting due to laws that disenfranchise citizens convicted of felony offenses. A primer on the issue by program associate Jean Chung says that disenfranchisement rates vary widely by state, but the 11 “most extreme states” restrict voting even after a convict has completed a prison term and is no longer on parole.

Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming. The total number of disenfranchised citizens rose from 1.17 million in 1976 to 5.85 million in 2010. In recent years, 23 states have reformed disenfranchisement policies, and about 800,000 citizens have regained the right to vote, the report said.

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