In addressing the 746,000 detainees lingering in jails across the nation who are eligible but denied the right to vote, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary, vice president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, in conjunction with the Prison Policy Initiative, are hosting a Zoom press conference 1 p.m., Wednesday, October 21, 2020, to address these barriers and resolve this “heinous form of voter suppression.”
The Prison Policy Initiative and the Rev. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition released the 50-state table and flowchart study co-authored by Dr. Yeary, “Eligible, but Excluded: A Guide to Removing the Barriers to Jail Voting” a roadmap to expanding voting access for people incarcerated in local jails who are already eligible to vote.
This is the registration link for the media/public access to this Zoom press conference:
“Thousands of people in jails across America retain the right to vote, but they are denied that right in every election,” said Reverend Jackson. “Many of these voters are being held simply because they are poor and can’t make bail. This form of voter suppression is a truly heinous form of social injustice and civic indignity.”
“This report provides the data that will help those concerned to fight back against this injustice, and fight we will.” The report provides an in-depth explanation of the most common issues preventing people in jail from voting, including:
▪ Confusion about who is eligible to vote, among election officials as well as incarcerated people themselves,
▪ Registration-related barriers such as restrictive deadlines and a lack of access to personal information,
▪ Ballot-casting barriers including strict for-cause absentee voting policies,
▪ Population “churn” in jails, which means that some people who register to vote in jail may not be incarcerated on Election Day.
The report offers 29 strategies for advocates, state legislatures, election officials, and to enable people in jail to exercise their franchise.
“In an era of criminal justice reform, protecting the right to vote for persons held in jail is among the most important reforms,” said Rev. Yeary, co-author of the report. “The state-by-state analysis in this report sets the landscape for the policy fight to protect the right to vote for persons who are legally eligible to cast a ballot, but are unjustly prevented from doing so.
“This is our justice roadmap for issue advocacy in upcoming state legislative sessions as well as policy changes by sheriffs, prosecutors, and governors across the country,” said Rev. Yeary.
To read the full report, click on this link: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/jail_voting.html