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5M+ people barred from voting due to felony convictions: study

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Felony convictions will bar more than 5 million Americans from voting in the November election, according to an analysis by the Sentencing Project.

The analysis found more than 5 million people are not allowed to vote due to a felony conviction. The number represents a decrease of nearly 15 percent compared to 2016 due to state laws re-enfranchising people with felony convictions. However, the number remains significantly higher than in 1976, when more than 1 million felons were disenfranchised, or 1996, when more than 3 million were disenfranchised.

The research also found that due to wide variation in state laws, more than 8 percent of the adult populations of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi are disenfranchised. Nationwide, about 1 in 16 African American adults are disenfranchised due to felony convictions, about 1.7 percent more than the non-African American population.

In seven states — Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming — over one-seventh of African Americans are disenfranchised due to felony convictions, double the national average, according to the report.

Florida has the most disenfranchised felons of any state, with 1.1 million people.

A 2018 ballot referendum re-enfranchised Floridians with felony convictions, but the GOP-controlled state legislature passed a bill requiring the payment of all outstanding fines before they could vote again. A federal judge struck down the law earlier this year but the ruling was overturned on appeal.

Only two states, Maine and Vermont, allow people to vote while incarcerated.

“The bedrock of any democracy is the right to vote,” the project’s executive director, Amy Fettig, said in a statement, according to CNN. “Laws that exclude people from voting have destabilized communities and families in America for decades by denying them a voice in determining their futures.”

Tags Disfranchisement Election law Felony

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