Louisiana Supreme Court Denies Case Seeking Right to Vote for Parolees and Probationers - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Louisiana Supreme Court Denies Case Seeking Right to Vote for Parolees and Probationers

New Orleans, LA – This week, over a powerful dissent by Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, a majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a writ application for review in VOTE v. Louisiana, a case challenging the constitutionality of Louisiana’s ability to disenfranchise probationers and parolees. With yesterday’s denial, lead plaintiff Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), a grassroots organization founded and led by formerly incarcerated people in Louisiana, now pivots to implementing Act 636, a measure VOTE fought for and won last May that restores the right to vote for some parolees and all probationers in the state.

“We are disappointed with this result, but invigorated by Chief Justice Johnson’s wise dissent and our work ahead in ensuring that over 40,000 citizens in Louisiana rejoin our democracy on March 1, 2019, the effective date of Act 636,” said Norris Henderson, Executive Director of VOTE.

“After March 1, 2019, under Act 636, every citizen in Louisiana, over the age of 18 can vote, including people who have been convicted of crimes, unless they fall into three scenarios: One, they are in prison for a felony conviction. Two, they have been on parole for less than five years. Or three, they have served prison time on their probation sentence, have been released back to their probation status, and have been on probation for five years since.” Norris Henderson explained. “And every citizen who has completed their sentence has the right to vote .The right to vote is a fundamental right in Louisiana.

“Like Chief Justice Johnson wrote in her dissent, Act 636 does not go far enough. But it is a step in the right direction. We will struggle on for the day that all people who are not in prison have the right to vote, which is what our Louisiana Constitution guarantees,” said Checo Yancy, Director of VOTE’s Baton Rouge Office.

“Dissents are important. Chief Justice Johnson has shown us the way forward. We have a movement led by VOTE and its allies that will make the change. It happens slower than we want, but we are honored to be part of this struggle,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project’s national office, which serves as lead national counsel on VOTE v. Louisiana. “This case was envisioned by the founders of VOTE while they were serving long sentences behind bars. That they have taken their fight for justice from the heart of one of the nation’s biggest incarcerators to the state’s Supreme Court is a testament to the grit and will of Voice of the Experienced. If we are to reinvent and reignite democracy, it will be done by following models like VOTE.”

See VOTE’s writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court in VOTE v Louisiana.

See VOTE’s statement on VOTE v. Louisiana: A Grassroots Lawsuit that Lost, Yet Won Voting Rights for 40,000

See Chief Justice Johnson’s dissent

Read our blog about this on www.nationalrighttovote.org.

VOTE is a grassroots organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people (FIP), our families and our allies. We are dedicated to restoring the full human and civil rights of those most impacted by the criminal (in)justice system. Together we have the experiences, expertise and power to improve public safety in New Orleans and beyond without relying on mass incarceration. ​Through civic engagement and policy reform, we increasingly mobilize a strong group of leaders to transform the movement for the elimination of the carceral state.

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high-quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

KEEP READING

Advancement Project National Office’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris as the President & Vice President of the United States

“The inauguration of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first Black and South Asian Vice President is the result of the tireless work of Black women."

Read More
National Civil Rights Organization Condemns Unprecedented Attempt to Subvert American Democracy

"When Black and Brown voters exercise power at the polls, a fierce whitelash has always attempted to silence them. Our nation must stand firm in protecting the right to vote and ensure our nation maintains a just democracy.”

Read More
Statement: National Racial Justice Organization Welcomes SCOTUS Rejection of PA Lawsuit

PA, TX lawsuits are part of effort to suppress Black and Brown political power nationwide WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied a request from a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers seeking to delay certification of the state’s election results. Jorge L. Vasquez Jr., Director of Power and Democracy at Advancement Project National Office, stated the following in response to the ruling: “We welcome the Court’s swift rejection of this lawsuit, which sought to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters. However, it is important to recognize that this lawsuit is only part…

Read More
Statement: Despite Numerous Voter Suppression Tactics on Election Day, Advancement Project National Office Attributes High Voter Turnout to Power of Grassroots, National Voting Rights Movements

Still, voting needs to be made easier Today, voters around the country — particularly Black, Brown, elderly and poor people — encountered numerous hurdles voting in-person on Election Day in an election season fraught with voter suppression. From challenges voting without the full repayment of fines and fees, to the presence of police at polls, from confusion around “curing” ballots, to finding official and secure ballot drop boxes and challenges with voter intimidation, it is obvious that voter suppression was a consistent challenge. Advancement Project National Office, a national racial justice organization released the following statement:…

Read More
Statement: Florida Voters Face Numerous Obstacles on Election Day, as Advancement Project National Office and Partners Support Election Protection Efforts in the State

Today, Florida voters encountered numerous hurdles voting in-person on Election Day in an election season fraught with voter suppression. From the Republican legislature’s action to prevent Returning Citizens from voting without the full repayment of fines and fees to the refusal of the State of Florida to extend online voter registration on the voter registration deadline, it is obvious that voter suppression was a consistent presence in Florida’s 2020 elections. Advancement Project National Office, a national racial justice organization released the following statement: “It is…

Read More
Statement: Advocates, Volunteers Instrumental in Voter Turnout at PA Polls

Voters showed up in the face of voter intimidation, threats of militias during Election 2020 ALLENTOWN, PA – Today, Pennsylvania voters, and particularly voters of color in Lehigh County, experienced numerous hurdles on Election Day, including instances of voter intimidation, the looming threat of militia violence, and political framing that suggested the state would cheat in the election. Advancement Project National Office lawyers were on standby, supporting election protection efforts and addressing issues as they arose. “Advancement Project National Office is on the ground to ensure that every vote is counted,” explained Flavia Jimenez, former Senior Attorney and Project…

Read More
GA Civil Rights Groups Aim to Advance Racial Justice, Hold Sheriffs Accountable at the Polls

Georgia NAACP, New Georgia Project, GLAHR and Advancement Project National Office launch TransformGeorgia.org to educate voters about local sheriff elections and impact the future of policing in the Peach State

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Announces Get Out the Vote Partnership to Turnout Young Voters of Color

Advancement Project National Office announced a new partnership with Win Black / Pa’lante to motivate young voters of color to cast a ballot in the 2020 elections and fight mis- and disinformation targeting Black and Brown voters.

Read More
Civil Rights Group Demands Action by State of Louisiana to Remedy Violations of Federal Voting Rights Law

Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) issued a demand letter to Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin for violations of the National Voter Registration Act. The group is prepared to take legal action unless the State removes administrative barriers blocking formerly incarcerated Louisianans from registering to vote.

Read More
We sued to extend Virginia’s voter registration deadline. Now voters must use it!

The 2020 election will be one of the most important elections of our lifetime, and it is important that every Virginia voter who wants to cast a ballot register by 11:59 pm tonight, October 15.

Read More