More Ex-Prisoners Can Vote--They Just Don't Know It

 Pastor Kenneth Glasgow helps Spencer Trawick, an inmate at the Dothan City Jail in Dothan, Ala., fill out a voter registration form in June 2017. CONNOR SHEETS/AL.COM

Pastor Kenneth Glasgow helps Spencer Trawick, an inmate at the Dothan City Jail in Dothan, Ala., fill out a voter registration form in June 2017. CONNOR SHEETS/AL.COM

This article was published in The Marshall Project. It is part of a partnership with The Daily Beast.  Written by Eli Hager.

 

The last few years have been good for former prisoners hoping to regain the ability to vote. In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued pardons in May to nearly 25,000 parolees in order to restore their voting rights. In Virginia, in an ongoing effort to get more people to the polling booth, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, have used executive powers to reinstate the rights of approximately 200,000 people with felony records.

This story was published in partnership with The Daily Beast.

And in Florida, where 1.7 million people are banned from voting because of criminal histories, an amendment to the state constitution on the ballot this November would give back the vote to every formerly incarcerated person not convicted of murder or a major sex offense.

But it’s one thing to make it legal for people to vote again, and another to ensure they know about it. Voters and even local officials may not realize what’s changed.

“Implementation is everything when it comes to voting rights,” said Danielle Lang, senior legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a national advocacy group.  Continue reading