Congress Considers Reinstating Voting Rights For Ex-Felons

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From The American Prospect:

Three years after serving a bid for robbery, Glenn Martin tried to register to vote in his state. In New York, formerly incarcerated people are allowed to vote once they complete parole. A few weeks later, the Bronx Board of Elections sent him a letter telling him he wasn’t eligible.

“After getting out and finding a job and working my way up the career ladder, I purchased property, I was paying property taxes, income taxes, child support, all the things everyone else pays,” Martin says. “I wanted to be engaged in the process.”

GALLERY: 100 Newsmakers

It turned out the Bronx Board of Elections was mistaken, and Martin was eventually able to register. At the time, Martin was working as a policy analyst for a legal advocacy group, and he knew the board had made a mistake, so he was able to correct it.

Different states have different requirements for re-enfranchising ex-felons. Maine and Vermont allow their imprisoned populations to vote. Some states restore voting rights at the moment of release, and some do it after parole or probation. Other states do not restore voting rights to those who have committed certain types of crimes or after more than one conviction. Virginia and Kentucky permanently disenfranchise the formerly incarcerated, except in cases of executive clemency.

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