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Press Release

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Signs Bill to Restore Voting Rights to People on Probation and Parole

Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill restoring voting rights to more than 80,000 people who had been barred from voting because they are on probation or parole.

December 18, 2019
Contact: Derek Rosenfeld, Media Contact, derek.rosenfeld@nyu.edu, 646-292-8381

Governor Phil Murphy today signed a bill restor­ing voting rights to more than 80,000 people who had been barred from voting because they are on proba­tion or parole. 

The bill, A-5823, was passed on Novem­ber 25 by the Assembly and on Decem­ber 16 by the Senate. It restores voting rights upon a person’s release from prison, and to those on parole or proba­tion. The law will go into effect 90 days from sign­ing, or March 17, 2020.

“By sign­ing this bill, Governor Murphy has given more than 80,000 people a voice in the decisions that affect them and their famil­ies. New Jersey­ans should feel proud to welcome all of these people back into our demo­cracy,” said Myrna Pérez, director of the Bren­nan Center’s Voting Rights and Elec­tions Program.

“Our Admin­is­tra­tion is deeply commit­ted to trans­form­ing our crim­inal justice system, and today we are taking a historic step to give resid­ents impacted by that system a second chance,” said Governor Murphy. “I am proud to enact legis­la­tion that will restore voting rights to over 80,000 resid­ents on proba­tion or parole, allow­ing them to fully parti­cip­ate in our demo­cracy.”

“On this historic day, New Jersey has lifted my colleague Ron Pierce — a veteran, husband and college gradu­ate — and 83,000 ghosts of demo­cracy out of the shad­ows so that they can finally be seen, heard, and repres­en­ted,” said Ryan P. Haygood, pres­id­ent & CEO of the New Jersey Insti­tute for Social Justice. “Two years after we and our part­ners launched the 1844 No More campaign — named for the year New Jersey denied the vote to people with convic­tions and restric­ted voting to white men in its Consti­tu­tion — we are proud to stand with the Governor and Legis­lature in help­ing New Jersey to become 1844 no more.” 

“New Jersey is taking a huge step toward a more inclus­ive, repres­ent­at­ive demo­cracy,” said Jesse Burns, exec­ut­ive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “Our demo­cracy is made stronger when all voices are heard.”  

New Jersey joins 18 other states and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. that allow people who are on proba­tion or parole to vote.

Resources on rights restor­a­tion 

Bren­nan Center: Crim­inal Disen­fran­chise­ment Laws Across the United States

Bren­nan Center: New Jersey’s Chance to Expand Demo­cracy

Bren­nan Center: Voting Rights Restor­a­tion Efforts in New Jersey

NJISJ: Value to the Soul: People with Crim­inal Convic­tions on the Power of the Vote

The Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpar­tisan law and policy insti­tute that works to reform, revital­ize – and when neces­sary, defend – our coun­try’s systems of demo­cracy and justice.

The New Jersey Insti­tute for Social Justice is a Newark-based organ­iz­a­tion dedic­ated to toppling load-bear­ing walls of struc­tural inequal­ity to create just, vibrant, and healthy communit­ies.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey encour­ages informed and active parti­cip­a­tion in govern­ment, works to increase under­stand­ing of major public policy issues, and influ­ences public policy through educa­tion and advocacy.