Voting Rights Advocates Release New Report on Felony Disenfranchisement & Poor Reentry Supports in Mississippi - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Voting Rights Advocates Release New Report on Felony Disenfranchisement & Poor Reentry Supports in Mississippi

CONTACT
Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office, [email protected]
Ayana Kinnel, One Voice Mississippi, [email protected]
Timothy Young, Mississippi Votes, [email protected]

 Advocates Aim to Restore Voting Rights of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals with Release of ‘Our Voice, Our Vote’

JACKSON, Miss. – Today, Advancement Project National Office, in collaboration with One Voice and Mississippi Votes, released a new report Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Reentry in Mississippi. The report uplifts data and the lived experiences of returning citizens impacted by the state’s inadequate reentry resources, and the inefficient process for regaining the right to vote. At a press conference, advocates expressed why the state must automatically restore the right to vote to formerly incarcerated residents and reimagine the state’s inequitable criminal legal system.

Here are the facts:

  • In 2020, Mississippi had the 2nd highest incarceration rate in the country, including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities.
  • 235,152 people are disenfranchised (cannot vote due to a felony conviction) in Mississippi, nearly 11% of the state’s population.
  • While 62% of people incarcerated, on parole, or probation in Mississippi are Black, Black people make up less than 40% of the state’s population.

“This report sheds light on the unfair and unjust disenfranchisement practices in the state of Mississippi,” said One Voice Executive Director Nsombi Lambright-Haynes. “Our criminal justice system disproportionately targets Black Mississippians for arrest and incarceration, and then strips them of their political power. It doesn’t have to be this way. Mississippi must do better to support people returning home from prison, particularly by restoring and ensuring the right to vote.”

The report launch comes immediately ahead of a virtual advocacy day in which formerly incarcerated people will speak with state legislators to demand change.

“The report will be used as a tool to educate the public and advocate for criminal justice reform in Mississippi,” said Mississippi Votes Executive Director Arekia Bennett. “Mississippi has an opportunity to build a better future for our state by reversing our high rates of mass incarceration and voter disenfranchisement. Mississippi Votes and One Voice are committed to making that opportunity a reality.”

Voting rights advocates are pushing for several state policy proposals, rooted in the lived experience of the incarcerated including:

  1. Restore voting rights to everyone who has completed their prison term
  2. Establish a clear process and inclusive criteria for approving suffrage applications
  3. Limit the harms of the criminal justice system to better support reentry from prison
  4. Modernize our voter registration and election administration to reduce barriers to voting

“At a time when national leaders are working to increase equitable access to the ballot box, it is unconscionable that lawmakers have resisted efforts to overturn Jim Crow-era laws that silence one in ten Mississippians,” said Jorge Vasquez, Power and Democracy Director for Advancement Project National Office. “Refusing to dismantle a subjective and opaque process that denies the gross majority of applicants their right to vote can only be described as what it is: an effort to warp the state’s democracy.”

The full report can be found on the Advancement Project National Office website.

###

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org
One Voice is a nonprofit organization specializing in training, leadership development, and network building in underserved communities. Our mission is to ensure an equal voice to traditionally silenced communities. Visit https://onevoicems.org

Mississippi Votes is a nonprofit organization that aims to cultivate a transformative culture of civic engagement throughout the state of Mississippi, prioritizes youth, and advocates for a voter accessible Mississippi. Visit https://msvotes.org 

KEEP READING

Advancement Project National Office Applauds the Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

CONTACT Jeralyn Cave [email protected] 202-921-7321 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation restores key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and helps prevent racial discrimination in voting by requiring states to obtain federal approval before enacting specific types of voting changes known to be racially discriminatory. The legislation also restores voters’ ability to challenge racial discrimination in court. Advancement Project National Office, a national racial justice and civil rights organization, released the following statement: “We applaud the efforts of the U.S.

Read More
Congress Must Combat New Wave of Voter Suppression, Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

On Monday, the U.S. House Judiciary hosted a hearing on H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), discussing the need to restore federal oversight of elections in the wake of a new wave of voter suppression sweeping the nation.

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Statement on Brnovich v. DNC Supreme Court Case

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court further weakened the Voting Rights Act in its ruling in Brnovich v. DNC, a case challenging voting laws in Arizona that discard provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct and limit who can return absentee ballots. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that Arizona's voting laws do not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and its ban on ballot harvesting was not enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose. Advancement Project National Office, a 21st century racial justice organization release the following statement.

Read More
Our Democracy is in Danger, But You Can Help Save It

By Jenna Israel, Communications Intern As a young person, it often feels like there’s not a lot you can do to change a world that seems like it’s not listening to you. But for me, helping other people vote, engage their government, and make their voices heard is my activity of choice during my free time. It is empowering. One of the most heartbreaking things to hear when speaking to people in my community is that someone won’t vote. Sometimes it’s because they can’t. Maybe they’ve lost their right to vote as the result of incarceration. Or maybe they can’t…

Read More
With Democracy at a Crossroads, Senate Must End Jim Crow Filibuster

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2021 Contact: Jeralyn Cave, [email protected] WASHINGTON — In light of the Senate blocking S. 1, the For the People Act, Advancement Project’s national office, a multiracial civil rights organization, released the following statement:  “It is indisputable that Republican leaders would rather fuel their rhetoric of white grievance and villainize people of color than protect our democracy,” said Jorge Vasquez, Power and Democracy Director of Advancement Project National Office. “They have long attempted to distract from their failures and pass anti-voter bills at the state…

Read More
New PSA Unveil: Why Georgia Ministers are Mobilizing their Communities for Voting Rights

We are excited to unveil a new PSA around SB 202, Georgia egregious voter suppression law

Read More
National Civil Rights Org: Florida’s New Jim Crow Law Will Not Stand

Senate Bill 90 is a full-frontal assault on the political power of Black and Brown Floridians. Florida politicians are advancing baseless claims of fraud and abuse as an excuse to eliminate voting tools and procedures that enabled Floridians to vote safety and securely during a public health crisis.

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Condemns Passage of Florida Voter Suppression Bill

Yesterday, Florida’s state legislature passed Senate Bill 90, a monster voter suppression bill aimed at reducing access to the ballot box for Black and Brown voters.

Read More
Democracy on the Ropes

On April 7, 2021, Advancement Project National Office hosted Democracy on the Ropes, a special conversation with voting rights and racial justice leaders, on the intersections of voter suppression and the criminalization of protest. Held during the National #ForThePeople Week of Action, panelists explored how states have attempted to silence communities of color at the ballot box and in the streets. At least 43 states have advanced legislation making it harder to vote. In the last six months, states have also introduced 85 bills criminalizing freedom of assembly and restricting First Amendment. Speakers highlighted the organizing strategies, litigation and tools…

Read More