Advocates gather at Capitol to support bill against disenfranchisement  


Criminal justice advocates gathered at the Connecticut State House Wednesday morning in support of voting rights for the state’s incarcerated population. Currently, more than 6000 of Connecticut’s incarcerated residents are deprived of their right to vote, according to a press release by the Full Citizens Coalition, a CT-based group aiming to help those affected by felony disenfranchisement laws.  

The group consisted of criminal justice experts and officials, as well as individuals who were formerly incarcerated, who showed their support for a proposed bill that would allow incarcerated individuals to vote.  

The bill (Bill #5702) was introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly’s 2023 January session by 18 state representatives. More details regarding the status of Bill #5702 can be found on the state General Assembly’s website.  

“On Wednesday, March 22, a coalition… [came] together during a press conference to demand Connecticut state legislators restore the right to vote to the state’s entire voting-age population, allowing all citizens to fully participate in our democracy – including incarcerated individuals to help address racial inequality in the state,” stated the press release.  

According to the release, the “voting ban” on Connecticut’s imprisoned population “disproportionately impacts people of color,” as 44% of incarcerated individuals in the state are Black and 28% are Latinx.  

The coalition was led by Full Citizens Coalition director James Jeter, state representatives Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Josh Elliot (who sponsored the proposed bill), Andrew Clark of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy, Nicole Porter of The Sentencing Project and Reginald Thedford of Stand Up America.  

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Maine and Vermont are the only states that allow everyone, including incarcerated residents, to vote. In Connecticut, individuals in prison and on parole cannot vote, but those on probation or with criminal convictions can vote. A full map of all states and their felony disenfranchisement laws can be found on the ACLU’s website.  

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