One out of every 50 adults in the United States will be barred from voting in the 2022 midterm elections because of a felony conviction. The Sentencing Project released a new report confirming that 4.6 million Americans are disenfranchised despite half of the states scaling back voting restrictions for people with felony convictions.
According to the report, “Locked Out 2022: Estimates of People Denied Voting Rights Due to a Felony Conviction,” “three out of four of the people disenfranchised are living in their communities, having fully completed their sentences or remaining supervised while on probation or parole.”
“Despite state-level reforms and the hard work of voting rights advocates, millions of Americans remain disenfranchised, representing 2 percent of the voting eligible population,” Christopher Uggen, co-author of the report, said. “In this election year, the question of specific voting restrictions, the broader issue of voter suppression, and the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, should be front and center on the public agenda.”
The report is co-authored by Uggen (University of Minnesota), Ryan Larson (Hamline University), Sarah Shannon (University of Georgia), and Robert Stewart (University of Maryland).
“The fact that one out of every 50 adults is disenfranchised due to a felony conviction is unacceptable,” said Nicole D. Porter, Senior Director of Advocacy of The Sentencing Project. “Recent polling clearly shows that the majority of Americans who are likely voters support guaranteeing voting rights for all justice-impacted citizens. It’s time for lawmakers to listen to the will of their constituents.”
The report found that many Southeastern states have retained disenfranchise restrictions and the states’ disenfranchised populations have increased with one in 10 Black adults disenfranchised in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia. Of the total disenfranchised population, 1,000,000 are woman or one-fifth of the total population.
“While many states have taken steps to expand the right to vote to people with felony convictions, this report makes it clear that millions of our citizens will remain voiceless in the upcoming midterms,” Amy Fettig, executive director of The Sentencing Project, said. “Felony disenfranchisement is just the latest in a long line of attempts to restrict ballot access, just like poll taxes, literacy tests and property requirements were used in the past. It is time for our country to guarantee the right to vote for people with felony convictions.”