“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States.” 15th Amendment, Section 1. US Constitution
A striking 6.1 million Americans are prohibited from voting due to laws that disenfranchise citizens convicted of felony offenses. Felony disenfranchisement rates vary by state, as states institute a wide range of disenfranchisement policies. Only two states, Maine and Vermont, do not restrict the voting rights of anyone with a felony conviction, including those in prison.
The 12 most extreme states restrict voting rights even after a person has served his or her prison sentence and is no longer on probation or parole. Felony disenfranchisement policies have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Black Americans of voting age are more than four times more likely to lose their voting rights than the rest of the adult population, with one of every 13 black adults disenfranchised nationally. As of 2016, in four states – Florida (21 percent), Kentucky (26 percent), Tennessee (21 percent), and Virginia (22 percent) – more than one in five black adults was disenfranchised. In total, 2.2 million black citizens are banned from voting - a ban that enforces a form of CIVIL DEATH.