State Strategies to End Life Imprisonment, Expand the Vote, and Strengthen Reentry Policies
Date:  03-07-2019

Spurred on by the passage of Florida's Amendment 4, six other states advance actions to restore voting rights
From The Sentencing Project:

This year, most states will go into legislative session to consider changes in public policy. State advocates will work strategically to support decarceration reforms. Recent coalition efforts have moved issues through state legislatures with substantial momentum in support of collaborative advocacy to challenge mass incarceration.

Expanding the Vote

Since last November, momentum to expand voting rights to person with felony convictions has gotten stronger. In Florida, voters overwhelmingly supported the 2018 ballot measure estimated to restore voting rights to up 1.4 million Floridians with felony convictions. Since the success in Florida, lawmakers and advocates in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey and Kentucky have advanced proposals to restore voting rights.

Supporting a broad coalition regardless of political affiliation has been important to rights restoration efforts and has helped advance state reforms. Advocates in Kentucky, Nebraska and Louisiana have worked with the American Probation and Parole Association to demonstrate law enforcement support. The APPA supported legislative proposals in Kentucky and Nebraska while filing an amicus brief in Louisiana that challenged that state’s voting restrictions.

Voting rights advocates also point to unlikely legislative champions like Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds who signaled support for a constitutional change to expand voting rights to persons with felony convictions. Reynolds, who has a prior conviction, stated “I’m a recipient of second chances … believe that people make mistakes and there’s opportunities to change, and that needs to be recognized. So it’s something that I’m passionate about.” Continue reading >>>