In recent years, the support for restoring voting rights has grown throughout the country and across the political spectrum. Bills with bipartisan sponsorship have moved recently in state legislatures, and both Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators are sponsoring proposals at the federal level.
This page offers resources on the growing bipartisan support for restoring voting rights, including a review of recent developments and press clippings from around the country.
This Brennan Center document summarizes the steady wave of voting rights restoration reform in recent years and the growing number of supporters who see reform as common sense, including those who recognize restoring voting rights as a smart-on-crime policy.
From our analysis:
“More people with criminal convictions in their past are able to vote today, and in more states, than they could 20 years ago — and efforts continue at both the state and federal levels to grow that number still. Over the past two decades, more than 20 states have taken action (legislative or executive) to allow more people with past criminal convictions to vote, to vote sooner, or to access that right more easily. That includes reforms in six states over the past five years. And just this year, in 2015, one bill was signed into law in Wyoming, and reform bills moved in at least three additional states.
One key factor in this progress is the growing bipartisan consensus on the need for criminal justice reform, and the recognition that restoring voting rights is a smart-on-crime policy. Leaders of both parties are acknowledging that we imprison too many people for too long, and do not provide adequate opportunities for people to reintegrate into society — rather than recidivate — after they leave incarceration.”
Press Clippings/Additional Resources:
- A Bipartisan Breakthrough on Restoring Voting Rights, Myrna Perez and Karl Eggers, The Sun Sentinel (May 13, 2015)
- The Surprising Voting Rights Issue Both Democrats and Republicans Support, Jennifer Bendery and Dana Liebelson, The Huffington Post (April 3, 2015)
- Bill to Restore Voting Rights Gets Another Bipartisan Push, Jennifer Bender, The Huffington Post (February 11, 2015)
- Cardin, Paul Unite for Discussion of How Best to Restore Voting Rights for Millions of Americans, Brennan Center for Justice (July 22, 2014)