FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SEPTEMBER 19, 2023
Sarah Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today marks National Voter Registration Day. As national and local organizations mobilize to register voters ahead of the 2023 and 2024 elections, tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated Americans will be able to register to vote for the first time. That’s because this year, New Mexico and Minnesota restored voting rights to nearly 60,000 people who were on parole and probation.
Despite these incredible victories, over 4.6 million people across the country are locked out of our elections due to discriminatory felony disenfranchisement laws. Like poll taxes and literacy tests, felony disenfranchisement laws are Jim Crow relics designed to deny Black Americans the freedom to vote, and cannot be divorced from their original racist intent. Today, felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately hurt people experiencing poverty and people of color. In fact, one in 19 Black Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate 3.5 times higher than the non-Black population.
National leaders are also beginning to take note of this injustice. U.S. Representative Jasmine Crockett, Senator Ben Cardin, and other congressional leaders recently introduced the Democracy Restoration Act, which would restore federal voting rights to millions of Americans on parole and probation. Though the Democracy Restoration Act wouldn’t restore voting rights for all Americans, it is an important first step toward ending felony disenfranchisement and building a more just democracy.
With ninety-five percent of people in state prisons returning home, restoring the freedom to vote for incarcerated individuals is common sense. Studies have shown that civic engagement greatly reduces the likelihood of returning to prison and improves public safety for everyone. A majority of Americans agree. Recent polling by Stand Up America, The Sentencing Project, and other progressive organizations showed that nearly 60 percent of voters believe voting should be a guaranteed right for all. Voters supported full restoration of voting rights, including those both inside and outside of prison.
Stand Up America’s nearly two million members have helped pass rights restoration legislation in New York, Minnesota, and New Mexico, and advanced legislation in Oregon and Illinois. Stand Up America’s community has driven over 10,000 emails and calls to lawmakers and mobilized nearly 1,400 volunteers in support of voting rights restoration across the country.
As Americans register to vote today, Stand Up America will continue working to make sure that America’s democracy lives up to Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people.”
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.