With the stroke of Gov. Phil Murphy’s pen, and after sustained advocacy for decades, New Jersey restored the right to vote to people on probation or parole.
"People who have been disenfranchised in every sense of the word have regained their most fundamental power in a democracy, thanks to Gov. Murphy’s signature and the leadership of the legislative sponsors,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “Some rights are too important to lose, and voting is among them. New Jersey today has declared its commitment to the ideals of justice, democracy, and having a voice, and we know our state is capable of going even further.”
Once implemented, this law will restore the right to vote for an estimated 83,000 New Jerseyans on probation or parole.
“Disenfranchisement has always had its roots in racial oppression, and racial oppression remains the end result of these policies now. With a criminal justice system that disproportionately ensnares people of color at much higher rates than white people, this legislation is a critical, monumental step for racial justice and civil rights. We need to further that progress by striving to include everyone in the democratic process, including people who are incarcerated,” said ACLU-NJ Policy Director Sarah Fajardo."
Only two states, Maine and Vermont, never take away the right to vote.
“We thank Gov. Murphy for taking this final action to turn this bill into law, and we thank legislative leaders who have championed this cause for decades. This legislation hasn’t been decades in the making – it’s taken almost two centuries to begin reversing disenfranchisement based on convictions in New Jersey,” said ACLU-NJ Senior Supervising Attorney and Director of Supreme Court Advocacy Alexander Shalom. “Though we have taken an important step toward a day when New Jersey elections are no longer tainted by discriminatory Jim Crow-era policies, our state can go even further by restoring the right to vote to people who are incarcerated.”