FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MAY 22, 2023
Monica Garcia, email@example.com
Currently, Nearly 30,000 Illinois Citizens Are Locked Out of Democratic Process by State Laws That Prevent People Incarcerated With Felony Convictions From Voting
A 2022 Poll Revealed That 56% of Illinois Voters Believe Voting Should be a Guaranteed Right For All
SPRINGFIELD— The Illinois General Assembly is approaching the end of the regular session without passing legislation to restore voting rights to nearly 30,000 Illinoisans serving a felony sentence. By failing to pass HB 39, Illinois misses the opportunity to become the first state to restore voting rights to incarcerated citizens and join Maine, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. in allowing currently and formerly incarcerated citizens to vote. Over 600 Stand Up America members submitted messages of support during the bill’s most recent legislative hearing.
Stand Up America’s Deputy Political Director, Reggie Thedford, issued the following statement:
“It’s disappointing that Illinois lawmakers continue to put voting rights restoration on the back burner. This is a matter of principle––of righting a historical wrong––yet legislative inaction has once again locked incarcerated Illinoisans out of future elections. It’s past time that our lawmakers protect all Illinoisan’s right to vote – no matter where they sleep at night.
“Though we are disappointed at the lack of results of this session, we are more committed than ever to get this bill across the finish line the next time lawmakers are back in Springfield. We will not give up on the fight for full restoration of voting rights.”
Stand Up America members across the state advocated for voting rights restoration this session, joining a growing grassroots movement across the country for voting rights restoration. In recent years, the nationwide movement to end felony disenfranchisement has made important strides to ensure no one has their right to vote taken away. Since 1997, 12 states, including Minnesota and New Mexico this year, have reformed their felony disenfranchisement laws—and in 2020, Washington, D.C. became the first jurisdiction in the country to restore full voting rights to people in prison.
Stand Up America and its partners recently released a poll revealing that 56% of Illinois voters believe voting should be a guaranteed right for all and the state should give full restoration of voting rights to all citizens over the age of 18. The polling also showed wide support for voting rights restoration in the state among younger voters, older voters, and voters of color – including the notion that all citizens should be eligible to vote – with 60%, 53%, and 65% support, respectively.
More information about the importance of voting rights restoration is available here.
About Stand Up America
Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with nearly two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to stand up to corruption and voter suppression and build a more representative democracy, Stand Up America has driven over 1.7 million calls to lawmakers, registered over 100,000 voters, mobilized thousands of protestors, and contacted tens of millions of voters.