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Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Wisconsin

Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Wisconsin

Published: March 27, 2014

Current Felony Disenfranchisement Laws

Wisconsin disenfranchises people while they are in prison, or on parole or probation for a felony conviction. In Wisconsin, 62,343 individuals are ineligible to vote because of a conviction. Over 37,500 of these individuals are out of prison, and living in the community.

Legislative Advocacy

2009. Brennan Center has been working with the local coalition in Wisconsin, led by the Wisconsin ACLU, on legislation that would restore the right to vote to people on parole and probation.  In July 2009, Wisconsin State Representative Tamara Grigsby and Senator Lena Taylor introduced A.B. 353 and S.B. 240, known as the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act. This bill seeks to restore voting rights to Wisconsin citizens who are out of prison, living in the community.  

On August 27, 2009, more than 33 people testified in favor of the bill before the Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Court.  Erika Wood and Carl Wicklund, from the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), submitted written testimony in support of the bill and APPA member Terry Marshall, President of Wisconsin’s Council on Community Corrections and ATTIC Correctional Services, appeared in person to testify in favor of the bill. Other testimony included testimony from, Kevin Kennedy, Director and General Counsel for the Government Accountability Board, WI League of Women Voters, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Equality Wisconsin, Institute for One Wisconsin, and Disability Rights Wisconsin.  Watch the Assembly hearing here (starts at 1:14:12).  The bill sucessfully passed out of committee and must now go to the Assembly floor for a vote

A senate hearing was held on October 13, 2009. Erika Wood and Carl Wicklund submitted written testimony in support.