Tag Archives: Voting

Legal Barriers for Returning Citizens

Fact: Most states allow employers to deny jobs to people who were arrested but never convicted of a crime.

Fact: Most states allow employers to deny jobs to anyone with a criminal record, regardless of how long ago or the individual’s work history or personal circumstances.

Fact: Most states ban some or all people with felony drug convictions from being eligible for federally funded public assistance and food stamps.

Fact: Most states make criminal history information accessible to the general public through the Internet.

Fact: Many public housing authorities deny eligibility for federally assisted housing based on arrests (not necessarily convictions).

Fact: All but two states restrict the right to vote in some way for people with criminal convictions.

Source: After Prison: Roadblocks to Rentry, Legal Action Center


Census Count of Prisoners Distorts Districts

Fact: The U.S. Census counts prisoners as members of the district where they are incarcerated, even though prisoners often cannot vote.

Fact: This may distort political districts, adding as much as 33% to the population numbers of some precincts.

Fact: Thus, “prison gerrymandering” grants undue political power to people who live near prisons, contributing to voter inequality.

Source: Study Says Prison Population Pads Voter Tally In Some Districts, Boston Globe


Fact: Globally, less than 1 out of 9 countries have bans on voting post-release from jail. In the U.S., every state does, except for Vermont and Maine.

Source: “Felon voting rights have a bigger impact on U.S. elections than voter ID laws

Fact: In at least three states (Florida, Virginia, Kentucky), more than one fifth of the adult black population is ineligible to vote because of criminal convictions. Across the nation, 1 out of 13 blacks are ineligible to vote.

Source: Sentencing Project, State Level Estimates of Felon Disenfranchisement in the U.S.

Fact: In Florida, 10% of the population is ineligible to vote because of a ban on felons at the polls.

Source: New York Times, on Eric Holder