Request for Hearing on U.S. Felon Disfranchisement Laws to the IACHR

May 20, 2010

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 2009, the ACLU submitted a request to the IACHR to convene a hearing on disfranchisement laws, policies and practices in the United States and other countries in the Americas.

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.