With the news out of Florida that a federal judge has ruled the felon disenfranchisement system in Florida unconstitutional, you may be wondering how your state handles restoring voting rights to this segment of the population, and if there is anything you can do to help.
You can catch up on the news and the read the judge’s full decision here.
The Brennan Center for Justice has this terrific map of the current state of criminal disenfranchisement laws across the U.S. It is an interactive map, and you can click on your state to get more detailed info.
The fights to restore these rights happen on at least two fronts: through the courts and through the legislatures. If the fight in your state is going through the courts, you can support the organizations who are suing. For example, in the state of Washington the Brennan Center and the ACLU are leading the charge and could use your support.
You may find, though, that there is proposed legislation in your state to restore rights to people with convictions after the completion of their sentence. Again, the Brennan Center is a good starting point. You can look up specific legislation in your state by going to Open States and clicking on “Search Upcoming Legislation.”
Armed with that information, contact your local state representatives (get their contact info here) and 1) ask them if they have an update on the status of that legislation, and 2) tell them how you’d like them to vote on that legislation.
If this is an important issue for you, I encourage you to check out The Sentencing Project.