States Ease Restrictions on Voting by Felons

By Eamon J Jawatin | Mar 09, 2017 04:55 AM EST

Organizer of Baltimore community Perry Hopkins, 55 - who lost his never-practiced appropriate to vote, is looking forward to stepping into a voting booth for the first time in his life this coming election season.

Hopkins lost his opportunity when he was indicted for medication and several offenses. When Maryland joined a developing rundown of U.S states, it enables Hopkins to be able to pick his chance to vote back, as the move has made it simpler for ex-convicts to vote, Reuters reported.

According to Hopkins, who has spent a total of 19 years in prison for non-violent crimes, he is "stoked" and said "to have the right to vote now is empowering". Hopkins was one of the 40,000 people in the state to recover his entitlement to vote from a legislative action.

"I plan to vote in every election possible. I'm voting for mayor, I'm voting for city councilman in my district, and, yes, I'm voting for president," said Hopkins. He also stated that he would like to vote in favor of previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leader in the race for the Democratic presidential designation, on Nov. 8.

Hopkins is among some in the range of 800,000 Americans who have recaptured the privilege to vote over the most recent two decades as around two dozen states have facilitated confinements on felons casting ballots, as indicated by the Sentencing Project, a prison reform advocacy group.

The reclamation of voting rights has drawn support from both Democrats and Republicans as an approach to enhance detainees' reintegration into society.

Sentencing Project's official executive Mark Mauer explained that the pattern is to reexamining approaches and downsizing (confinements), as reported by WSJ.

"There are setbacks on the way, but the trend is in that direction," he added.

Advocates contend it is likewise a method for advancing racial equity, as African-Americans are sentenced wrongdoings and sent to jail at about double the rate of the general U.S. populace.

Of the 5.8 million Americans prohibited from voting, 2.2 million are African-American, according to the group. In three states - Virginia, Florida and Kentucky - more than a fifth of black residents outside of prison are banished from casting a vote. Around 13 percent of the U.S. population is African-American.

More Sections