The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice recently released a report highlighting more than 30 people being denied the right to vote due to criminal convictions.
“Value to the Soul: People With Criminal Convictions on the Power of the Vote” argues for the passage of pending legislation (S2100/A3456) in New Jersey that would restore the right to vote to people in prison, on parole, and on probation.
More than 102,000 people are denied the vote in New Jersey due to criminal convictions. Almost half are Black, compared to just 15 percent of New Jersey’s population.
“People who are denied the vote are essentially ghosts in New Jersey’s democracy. Their lives are directly and severely impacted by elected officials, yet they have no say in choosing them. Their political voices have been stolen from them,” said Ryan P. Haygood, president & CEO of NJISJ. “They are ghosts because New Jersey suppresses their right to vote such that they are not seen, heard, or represented.”
In addition to that legislation, the report calls for the passage of A1987, already passed by the New Jersey Senate, which would end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering—counting incarcerated people as residents of the prison for legislative redistricting purposes instead of at their home address.