More Than Six Million Felons Can’t Vote in 2016

By: - October 10, 2016 12:00 am

More than 6 million Americans with a felony criminal record will not be able to vote in the 2016 election, according to a new report by The Sentencing Project.

That figure is up by about 250,000 people since 2010. The criminal justice reform group estimates that 2.5 percent of the U.S. voting age population is now disenfranchised due to a felony record.

In every state except for Maine and Vermont, felons are barred from voting while they are in prison. Many states also don’t allow felons to vote while they are probation or parole, and a dozen prohibit felons from voting even after they finish both prison time and supervision.

More than a dozen states have considered restoring voting rights to some felons, but few have taken action.

This year, Maryland’s legislature overturned Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that allows people to vote as soon as they leave prison. Maryland law previously required that felons finish probation or parole before being allowed to vote. In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe this fall restored the voting rights of nearly 20,000 people with a felony record. 

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Rebecca Beitsch

Rebecca Beitsch writes about energy and the environment for Stateline. She covered state government in Missouri and North Dakota, writing about politics and policy for NewsRadio KMOX, the Columbia Missourian and the Bismarck Tribune.