Prisoners Should Have the Right to Vote
  • Petitioned President of the United States

This petition was delivered to:

President of the United States
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives

Prisoners Should Have the Right to Vote

    1. Andrew Heugel
    2. Petition by

      Andrew Heugel

      Brewster, NY

During 2002 Canada gave prisoners the right to vote. On January 4, 2010, a federal appeals court ruled that Washington State prisoners should be allowed to vote to ensure that racial minorities are protected under the Voting Rights Act, as African Americans make up 3% of Washington's general population, but are 28% of its prison population. The lawsuit that was ruled on contended that as non whites make up a large percentage of the prison population, the State law prohibiting inmates and parolees from voting is illegal as it dilutes the electoral clout of minorities. The Sentencing Project estimates that due to their legal status, 5.3 million Americans who would otherwise be entitled to vote do not have that right.

Currently, Maine and Vermont are the only states that allow prisoners to vote, and there are eleven states, mostly in the south, where somebody convicted of a felony permanently loses their right to vote. The contention of this petition is that the laws barring prisoners and parolees from voting violate the Voting Rights Acts and are racist, because they disproportionately affect people of color and that all such state laws should be declared unconstitutional. Furthermore, such laws are an additional barrier to reintegration into the community of ex-offenders, something that should be the goal of the correctional system.

Below is a link to a table that delineates voting rights of prisoners and ex-offenders state by state:

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • almost 2 years ago

      The issue is one of democracy, representation effectiveness. The judicial system disproportionately selects for disadvantaged groups, eliminating the electoral representation of certain sectors of society. Moreover, the institutionalized status of this group leaves them most vulnerable to decisions made by policy makers. If the system is serious about rehabilitation then the government should take actions to encourage inmates to think of themselves as potentially meaningful and impactful contributors of society. I believe the goal of the prison system should be to aid the reintegration of marginalized groups back into society and part of that is creating a citizenship mentality

    • Chistine Hoovler ROCKFORD, MI
      • about 2 years ago

      It's fair and just.

    • Denise Seese DALTON, OH
      • about 2 years ago

      Yes, they should have the right to vote they are people. And interest on what goes on in the world.

    • Todd Johnson HICKORY, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      I was convicted of a felony and the world is less forgiving and always wants to hold that against a person,even when that person is trying or doing the right thing. Sometimes the denial may send a person back in the wrong direction. Thanks everyone for listening to part of my story.

    • Ariana Hofer INDIANAPOLIS, IN
      • over 2 years ago

      The US prison system is fundamentally flawed. Privately run prisons often pay states to keep prisons at a certain capacity, meaning that a lot more people are incarcerated for trivial things. They shouldn't lose their rights just because of corruption in the system.


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