New Jersey Men and Women Prohibited from Voting Pursuant to State Disfranchisement Laws, Policies and Practices Petition the IACHR
The felony disfranchisement laws, policies and practices of the United States violate the right to vote free from discrimination under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.
The ACLU has twice brought the issue of U.S. felon disfranchisement laws before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); once in a contentious petition challenging New Jersey’s disfranchisement laws and more recently, in the form of a request to the IACHR to convene a hearing on disfranchisement laws in the United States and other countries in the Americas.
In September 2006, the ACLU submitted a petition to the IACHR against the U.S. and the New Jersey government on behalf of citizens of New Jersey challenging their exclusion from voting in federal, state and local elections based on prior convictions. The petition alleged violations of the human rights – specifically the right to vote and the right to vote free of discrimination - of the New Jersey State Conference NAACP, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, Councilwoman Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Councilman Carlose J. Alma, Stacey Kindt, Michael Mackason, Charles Thomas, and Dana Thompson by the U.S. and the State of New Jersey.
The IACHR is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), an inter-governmental organization of which the United States is an active member. As a member of the OAS, the United States is obligated to uphold human rights recognized under the American Declaration and Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR is tasked with monitoring and enforcing member state compliance with these human rights standards. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Commission regularly investigates allegations of human rights violations in the Americas..