Civil Rights Advocates, Elected Officials Call for Restoration of Voting Rights for People with Criminal Convictions

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
December 14, 2017 11:00 am

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ACLU of New Jersey
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On December 14 at 11 a.m., the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (Institute) will host a press call with its partners, leading civil rights advocates and state legislators, to call for an end to New Jersey’s practice of denying the right to vote to people with criminal convictions. New Jersey denies the right to vote to people serving a sentence for a felony, including people in prison, on parole, or on probation.

Joining the call will be:

  • Ryan P. Haygood, Institute President and CEO
  • Scott Novakowski, Institute Associate Counsel and primary author of the Institute’s forthcoming report, “We Are 1844 No More: Let Us Vote”
  • Senator Sandra Cunningham
  • Senator Ronald Rice
  • Assemblyman Reed Gusciora
  • Jesse Burns, League of Women Voters of New Jersey Executive Director
  • Amol Sinha, American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey Executive Director
  • Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project Executive Director
  • Dale Ho, ACLU National Voting Rights Director

In conjunction with the press call, the Institute will release a report on voting rights restoration for people with convictions and the law’s disparate impact on Black residents due to systemic racism in New Jersey’s criminal justice system.

New Jersey leads the nation in racial disparities in Black/white incarceration rates for both adults and youth. Black adults are twelve times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers, and Black youth are more than thirty times more likely to be imprisoned than white youth. Importantly, a significant proportion of these disparities cannot be explained by differing rates of offending.

More than 94,000 New Jersey residents are prohibited from voting because of a criminal conviction, more than the population of Trenton, the state’s capital. Just five counties — Essex, Camden, Hudson, Monmouth, and Ocean — are home to over half of those removed from the rolls. Those same five counties contain 46 percent of the state’s Black population.

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