Washington, DC – On July 28, 2023, Representative Jasmine Crockett introduced the Democracy Restoration Act in the House of Representatives. This legislation would end the permanent denial of voting rights for justice-involved individuals nationwide, and automatically restore voting rights to as many as 3.5 million Americans who are living in the community but barred from voting. It would also eliminate the complicated patchwork of state laws that creates a lack of uniform standards for voting in federal elections, exacerbates racial disparities in access to the ballot box, and contributes to confusion and misinformation regarding voting rights.
“America is an international outlier in its heavy reliance on the criminal legal system and especially in its disenfranchisement of people in prisons and jails. After 50 years of mass incarceration in America – and 50 years of stripping voting rights from justice-impacted individuals – it’s time for a better path forward. The Sentencing Project applauds Representative Jasmine Crockett and additional cosponsors for introducing the Democracy Restoration Act in the House of Representatives,” said Nicole D. Porter, Senior Director of Advocacy with The Sentencing Project. “By empowering justice-impacted people with the right to vote, we strengthen the principles of fairness and equality in our democracy. That’s why The Sentencing Project will continue to support legislative efforts that protect and expand the right to vote for all people impacted by the criminal legal system, including those currently in prison.”
Research has demonstrated that restoring voting rights for people with felony convictions can be an effective public safety strategy. As a policy brief from The Sentencing Project released earlier this year notes:
Polling from Lake Research Partners also shows legislation like the Democracy Restoration Act is popular. Their polling found that the majority of Americans who are likely voters believe that voting should be a guaranteed right for all—including for persons completing their sentence inside and outside of prison.
The Sentencing Project advocates for effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice. www.sentencingproject.org