“Inspiring Action: Fighting Ex-Felon Disenfranchisement by Restoring the Vote to the Returning Citizens!”
Our show on Tuesday, June 13th, 12:00-1:00 PM, EDT, will focus on active legislative and initiative activities in Alabama, Florida and nationwide to address the impact of the major voter suppression of ex-felon disenfranchisement laws that currently block 6.1 million citizens from voting. Nationwide 7% of the African American voting age population is barred from the franchise due to these laws. Returning Citizens, Formerly Incarcerated Persons, Ex-Felons are all terms used to designate those blocked from voting by disenfranchising laws and practices in the United States. This show is a follow-up to a two-edition special series on “Understanding Felon Disenfranchisement Laws & The Individuals Affected” published October, 2016, in The Transformer, the Transformative Justice Coalition’s weekly e-newsletter
Our very special guests include Attorney David Honig, Special Counsel, Florida NAACP and President & Executive Director Emeritus of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council; Benard Simelton, President of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP; and Caitlyn Cobb, Editor of The Transformer, the Transformative Justice Coalition’s weekly e-newsletter.
According to the Sentencing Project in 2012, there were 5.85 million people in our nation who could not vote due to a felony conviction. Florida ranks #1 in the nation in disenfranchising formerly incarcerated persons with 1,541,602 citizens, 10.42% of the State’s population, 23% of all voting age African Americans, banned from voting. Sadly, as reported in an August 12, 2016, Tampa Bay Times article by Mary Ellen Klas, over the last six years, only 2,000 returning citizens have had their rights restored under a grueling and deliberately discouraging process, with 10,463 on the almost stagnant waiting list.
Fortunately, there is a new ballot campaign to garner 770,000 plus signatures by February, 2018, to place on the November, 2018 ballot an initiative to restore the vote. This initiative would automatically restore the right to vote to former felons, except those convicted of murder or felony sex offenses, after completing their prison sentence, parole or probation.
The status of felon disenfranchisement in Alabama, is undergoing a needed change. Alabama ranks fifth in the nation with 262,354 ex-felons, 7.19% of the population and 15% of all voting age African Americans, prohibited from voting. On May 25th, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, signed into law, The Moral Turpitude Act, which provided for the first time since 1901 an uniform statewide definition of “moral turpitude.” The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates this act will restore the right to vote for thousands of African Americans in the State. Yet, there remains 50 offenses which are still defined as moral turpitude and there isn’t automatic restoration.
Our show will examine the nationwide fight to reinstate voting rights for ex-felons. We will review the historic origins of felon disenfranchising laws and their current status nationwide. What is the political impact of these laws? We will discuss what can you, the listener, do to fight these laws? How can you become involved in helping the Florida ballot signature campaign? What is next for Alabama? What about Mississippi and Kentucky, ranked respectively #2 and #3 in the nation in disenfranchising ex-felons? Where are the promising restoration efforts nationwide? How can you help a friend, family member or others to have their voting rights re-established?
These any many other questions will be explored during the show.
Be sure to listen to the live show broadcast on Tuesday, June 13th, 12:00-1:00PM, EDT, in the Washington DC Metro Region at WOL 1450 AM and on the Internet at www.BarbaraArnwine.com.
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David Honig co-founded the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) in 1986. MMTC currently represents over 80 minority, civil rights and religious national organizations […]
Benard Simelton, Sr.
Benard H. Simelton Sr. was born in Tiplersville, MS and attended College at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, MS. He graduated with a […]
Caitlyn currently works for the Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) as its Social Media Director and as a Special Assistant to Barbara Arnwine, president and founder […]