6.1 million Americans cannot vote due to a felony conviction and are therefore denied the right to cast their vote in an election. Felony disenfranchisement exacerbates racial disparities. 1 in 13 black Americans have lost their right to vote vs. 1 in 56 white Americans. State laws vary wildly as far as re-enfranchisement is concerned, with some never disenfranchising felons, and others permanently disenfranchising them. This patchwork of state laws is inherently unfair, as citizens are treated differently depending on their location.
America’s criminal justice system should be built around the idea of rehabilitation whenever possible - that means during the incarceration period and after. By restoring full voting rights to felons during incarceration, who have not deprived someone else of their right to vote, and ex-felons who have completed the entirety of their sentence, we’ll increase their engagement with society. This will improve their lives drastically, for obvious reasons. It will also make the rest of us safer, as some studies have shown that ex-felons who vote are half as likely to reoffend. By giving these individuals a larger stake in society, we make our entire country stronger.
Problems to be Solved
- checkMillions of Americans are not allowed to vote because of a prior conviction, making them less engaged with society.
- If you’ve paid your debt to society, you ought to be able to vote. This is particularly true given the hodgepodge of different treatment in different states. Voters are less likely to reoffend, which is only one reason we should be pushing for it.
- checkHelp to reintegrate those convicted of felonies into society
- checkExpand voting rights
As President I will...
- Restore voting rights to individuals convicted of felonies and prohibit states from denying ex-felons the right to vote.
- Restore voting rights for current inmates unless they have deprived someone else of their right to vote.
- Prioritize all initiatives to expand and restore voting rights in the U.S. to the previously and currently incarcerated.