Oregon is a national leader on voting rights. You can vote by mail, pre-register at 16-years-old, be automatically registered, and more.
Now, Oregon has the chance to blaze the trail once again and restore voting rights to 12,000 Oregonians currently shut out from the process by our state’s outdated felony disenfranchisement law.
This year, legislators are considering SB 579, a bill that would allow incarcerated people to register to vote, update their voter registration, and vote in the communities where they lived before they were in prison.
Its passage would once again make Oregon a leader in voting rights and allow it to right a racist wrong. Disenfranchisement laws were Jim Crow era inventions to keep Black Americans from exercising their right to vote. These racist roots are still clear when looking at the numbers: Black Oregonians make up just two percent of the state’s population but nine percent of the state’s prison population.
95% of Americans in state prisons return home, and a majority of women in prison are mothers. Restoring their freedom to vote would allow them to have a say in the laws that impact their communities and their children. Studies show that restoring the right to vote could reduce the likelihood of Oregonians returning to prison, which would improve public safety for everyone.
Send an email to your state lawmaker today and urge them to guarantee the right to vote for all—including incarcerated Oregonians—by passing SB 579.