The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
More than 5.3 million Americans have relinquished their right to vote, not by choice, but because the law bans them from going to the polls. Many states have policies that bar ex-felons from voting. In 48 states, felons serving time in jail are denied the right to vote, and in 11 states a person convicted of a felony is barred for life.
The disparate impact felony disenfranchisement laws have on minority ex-felons is a major reason the laws should be repealed, but felony disenfranchisement laws are also unnecessary. When someone has fully and irreversibly paid his debt to society, it is of the utmost importance that society returns the favor by restoring back to him his right to vote. It is pointless to free someone from prison but deny them the right to vote, since no one in a democracy is truly free unless they can participate in it to the fullest extent possible.
Leadership Conference/Education Fund Resources
- Growing Momentum for Change; States Reform Felony Voter Laws - 12/5/06
- LDF Win Restores Voting Rights to Ex-Felons in Alabama - 9/13/06
A Decade of Reform: Felony Disenfranchisement Policy in the United States (pdf) - The Sentencing Project - 10/11/06
Despite the extensive reach of disenfranchisement policies, there is growing momentum for reform. Since 1997, 16 states have implemented policy reforms that have reduced the restrictiveness of felony disenfranchisement laws
Barred for Life: Voting Rights Restoration in Permanent Disenfranchisement States (pdf) - The Sentencing Project - 02/01/05
An estimated 4.7 million Americans are not eligible to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement laws that apply in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Persons who are excluded from voting include people currently serving a felony sentence in prison or on probation or parole, as well as persons in 14 states which disenfranchise convicted persons even after completion of sentence.
Re-Enfranchisement! - A Guide for Individual Restoration of Voting Rights in States that Permanently Disenfranchise Former Felons - Advancement Project - 09/01/02
The following three parts comprise this report: highlighting hurdles to re-enfranchisement; state-by-state guide to the restoration process; and a guide to national, state, and local re-enfranchisement work.
Losing the Vote: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States - Human Rights Watch - 10/01/98
Given current rates of incarceration, three in ten of the next generation of black men will be disenfranchised at some point in their lifetime. In states with the most restrictive voting laws, 40 percent of African American men are likely to be permanently disenfranchised.