Felon voting rights remain a controversial reform among many but the truth remains that mass incarceration of Americans is historically tied to the nation’s history of slavery. Now good news is coming on this front from an unexpected corner. From the Tennessean written by Natalie Allison:
Two Republican lawmakers, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, are setting out to make it simpler for people with felony convictions to regain their right to vote, a process more arduous in Tennessee than in most states. Tennessee’s rights restoration laws are among the strictest in the country.
It is one of 12 states that requires individuals with felony convictions to complete multiple steps beyond serving their sentence in order to have their voting rights restored, and is the only state requiring the payment of outstanding child support obligations in order to do so. “We’ve put too many hurdles in place,” said Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, who is sponsoring HB 547. Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, filed corresponding SB 589.
Click here for full story. You can also see more on this subject at either Democracy Chronicles’s felon voting archive or African-American Voting Rights. Also see our main section on American Democracy and our Voter Access articles focusing more broadly on the ease of voting and the various barriers in the way.
Another state that restricts voting rights for felons is Minnesota. The following YouTube video is hosted by Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and is a discussion that “looks at Minnesota’s policy of restoring the vote to felons only after they are ‘off paper,’ how felony disenfranchisement disproportionately affects minorities, and how other states deal with felony voting differently.” The video is about 30 minutes long. Take look:
What do you think about felon voting reform, its importance, or its controversies? Add you comment below…