Voter disenfranchisement works to oppress ALL marginalized people.
As we approach November’s elections, millions of voters are disenfranchised due to felony convictions, hindering or abolishing their right to vote. 36 states require identification at the polls, 7 of them maintaining strict photo ID laws. Early and mail-in voting are being curtailed and roadblocks are being erected toward voter registration and in-person ballots. The restrictions on our right to vote are intended to succeed at impacting people of color, primarily. History tells us that, in the fifteen years after the Civil War, more than a third of U.S. states passed their first felony disenfranchisement laws. These laws safeguarded the practice of criminalizing the activities of formerly enslaved people, leasing them as free “convict labor,” and ultimately returning them to the conditions of enslavement. In order for such a system to remain in place, its victims had to be stripped of their right to vote. Today, in conjunction with other systemic injustices, voter disenfranchisement works to oppress all marginalized people. Here’s just a taste of what CJI’s grantees are doing about it: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) led the remarkable coalition effort to pass Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to over 1.4 million Returning Citizens. FRRC’s fines and fees program assigns volunteer lawyers to advocate for relief from conviction-related fees that must be paid prior to re-enfranchisement and also supplies financial assistance to pay. After providing this essential support, they help their members register to vote in the critical swing state of Florida. Trans United (TU) in Washington DC takes on voter suppression, discrimination, and the over-incarceration of trans people, which result in astronomical rates of disenfranchisement in trans communities. Partnering with other organizations to promote the #TransTheVote movement, TU organizes and empowers trans people in reclaiming voting rights while advancing policy agendas that serve their community’s needs. Leading their “Let My People Vote” campaign, The Ordinary People Society (TOPS) works in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida to re-enfranchise incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. Before the last congressional election, TOPS registered and supported a pivotal 10,000 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated voters. Now they’re looking to take their strategy nationwide. We can do so much more, with your support! 100% of your donation will go directly to more than 50 grassroots organizations doing powerful, innovative and impactful work like those mentioned above. You can also support CJI’s Change Makers Campaign by sharing our donate page , following us on Instagram , liking our Facebook page , and encouraging your friends and family members to tune in to our social media channels. Our lives and freedom depend on our collective efforts to generate lasting change. Your support means the world to CJI and to the Movement! In solidarity, CJI