Excerpts from A whitepaper by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Firmly rooted in the nation’s most insidious elements of race relations, felony disenfranchisement is this country’s enduring nod to Jim Crow— a continued bridge between states intentional circumvention of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments and the goal of preventing accrual of political power in the black community.
With more than 5.8 million citizens unable to vote as a result of a felony conviction amounting to one out of every 40 adults,i the United States is the only democratic nation recognized for stripping so many people of their voting rights even after they are no longer incarcerated.
Seventy-five percent of the nation’s disenfranchised – an estimated 4.3 million people – are no longer incarcerated. As a result, the returning citizen population includes many individuals who are parents, workers, neighbors, and taxpayers, forced to live in the margins of democracy despite practicing responsible citizenship.