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Research Report

Right to Vote Research Toolkit: How to Survey Voting Registration Procedures for People with Felony Convictions

  • Brennan Center for Justice
Published: November 2, 2004

Most states have laws that take away voting rights from people with felony convictions for some limited period of time. A few states permanently bar people from the polls based on past convictions, but in most places people are supposed to be able to vote again at some point. It might be after getting out of prison or upon finishing parole. But often lack of information, confusion and illegal election practices prevent people with felony convictions from registering to vote, even after they have again become eligible under their state’s laws. This survey is a way to find out whether this is happening in your state, and, if it is, to develop a record that can be used to change things. 

As part of our work in the Right to Vote coalition, the Brennan Center has produced the Right to Vote Research Toolkit for surveying local election board procedures with respect to registration of eligible voters with felony convictions. The toolkit was developed following a survey conducted in New York, which revealed massive problems and led to swift reforms making registration easier for people with felony convictions.