Polling shows 56% of voters believe those in prison should be able to vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Stand Up America, State Innovation Exchange, The Sentencing Project, and Common Cause recently released new national polling revealing that 56% of voters believe voting should be a guaranteed right for all. Respondents supported full restoration of voting rights to all citizens over the age of 18, including those completing a sentence, both inside and outside of prison.  

"Guaranteeing the right to vote for all citizens, including those who are incarcerated, keeps people involved in their communities and gives justice impacted citizens a political stake in them when they return home. If citizenship does not stop at the prison gates, neither should the right to vote. It’s
time for our country to reject the remnants of Jim Crow and commit to safer, more equitable communities," said Reggie Thedford, deputy political director of Stand Up America.  

“Americans have made it very clear that they believe no father, son, mother, or daughter, should ever lose the right to vote, once they become eligible. For too long voting rights have been the privilege of select Americans. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and property ownership have historically been barriers to the right to vote, now felony disenfranchisement is the most pervasive form of voter suppression. To realize the promise of American democracy and address significant racial inequities, states must pass full rights restoration for people impacted by the criminal legal system,” said Keshia Morris Desir, Common Cause Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager.

In addition to strong overall support, younger voters, Black and Latino voters favored voting rights restoration with 65%, 71%, and 67% support, respectively. The polling also oversampled 200 likely voters in Illinois, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon – all states with recent or ongoing efforts to restore voting rights to justice impacted individuals.

Voters in the U.S. are ready for all citizens of this country to be eligible to vote no matter their relationship with the criminal justice system. Although many voters aren’t aware of the laws in their states around voting rights, the majority of them across the nation believe that every citizen should be eligible for and have the right to vote.

The polling shows increased support from previous state and national polling on voting being a guaranteed right. The Huffington Post conducted a 2018 poll about guaranteeing voting rights for justice impacted individuals with minimal support across the board.

Voters who have a work connection (either themselves or a family member) to the criminal legal system, and voters who have a personal connection (either themselves or a family member) to being involved in the criminal legal system also had greater support for all citizens guaranteed the right to vote at 64% support and 72% support, respectively.

More information on the importance of voting rights restoration is available here.

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