Breaking Barriers to the Ballot Box - Felon Enfranchisement Toolkit

January 25, 2008
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Right to Vote, a campaign to end felony disfranchisement, is part of the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Program. Together with the Voting Rights Project, Right to Vote works with ACLU affiliates throughout the country on legislation, litigation and public education to reform felony disfranchisement policies and practices, and to promote the fundamental, democratic right to vote for all citizens.

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Unless you live in Maine or Vermont, where incarcerated citizens may vote, there is important work to do on this issue. One of the greatest barriers to felon enfranchisement is the lack of public awareness of the issue; where awareness exists, the information available is often misleading or inaccurate. Well over five million Americans are legally barred from voting due to a felony conviction (and in six states, a misdemeanor conviction), while millions more are disfranchised due to ignorance, misunderstanding or confusion about disfranchisement law in their states.

In this toolkit, you will find the individual pieces that, when combined, will help you launch a successful campaign in your state. Additional information is also available at www.aclu.org/righttovote, including sample bills, public education materials, op-eds and more.

While this toolkit is extensive, you should also make use of the Right to Vote staff. If you are working on, or considering working on, this issue, please contact us to strategize about how we can best assist you.

What's Inside:

STRATEGIES
Components of Successful Felon Enfranchisement Policy Reform >>
Policy Reform Goals & Strategies >>
Recent Successful Policy Reforms >>
Components of Model Legislation & Pressure to Create Exceptions >>
Legislating Notice & Voter Registration >>
Working with Corrections, Parole & Probation >>
Executive Reform >>
Comparing Your State to Surrounding States >>
Comparing the U.S. to Other Democracies & Analyzing the U.S.' Human Rights Obligations >>
RESOURCES
Map of State Felony Disfranchisement Laws [MAP] >>
Policy Changes to State Felony Disfranchisement Laws 1997 - 2007 >>
Why & How to Conduct a Survey of State & Local Election Officials >>
Using Video to Illustrate the Personal Impact of Felony Disfranchisement: Democracy's Ghosts >>
Significant Endorsements in Support of Felon Enfranchisement Reform >>
Legal Primer >>
Mini-Bibliography >>
MODEL MATERIALS
Model Legislation: Rhode Island >>
Model Legislation: North Carolina >>
Model Talking Points: Colorado >>
Model Fact Sheet: Wyoming >>
Model Testimony: Alaska >>
Model Testimony: Rhode Island >>
Model Resolution: New Jersey >>
Model Briefing Paper: Wisconsin >>
Model Pub-Ed: Georgia >>
Model Op-Ed: Jack Kemp >>
Model Op-Ed: Washington State >>

Download Breaking Barriers to the Ballot Box (PDF) >>

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