Last updated on: 10/4/2017 | Author:

Did You Know?

1. An estimated 6.1 million people in the United States (2.5% of the nation's voting age population, excluding DC) cannot vote due to a felony conviction.
2. In 1792 Kentucky became the first US state to ban convicted criminals from voting.
3. There are 9 states (AL, AZ, DE, FL, IA, KY, MS, TN, WY) where some felons may be permanently barred from voting, even after release, probation, parole, and fines.
4. Florida has the highest percentage of disenfranchised voters (10.43%) of any state. Mississippi came in second at 9.63%, and Kentucky ranked third at 9.14%, according to a 2016 report.
5. In 2012 US jails and prisons housed 2,255,997 people - more than the entire populations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont combined.
6. Maine and Vermont are the only two states where felons are permitted to vote while in prison.
7. In Canada, and at least 20 other countries, convicted felons have no voting restrictions and can vote while incarcerated.
8. In 1882 the US Congress passed the Edmunds Act banning convicted polygamists from voting or holding political office.
9. For a convicted felon to vote in Mississippi, his or her state representative must personally author a bill reenfranchising that individual. Both houses of the legislature must then pass the bill. Re-enfranchisement can also be granted directly by the governor.
10. The percentage of state and federal prisoners incarcerated for a drug offense peaked in 1997 at 26.9% (1 in 4 inmates) up from 10.4% (1 in 10) in 1974. As of 2012, 20.5% of all state and federal prisoners were in for a drug related offense.
11. In 2002, the US Senate voted 63-31 against legislation that would have restored voting rights to ex-felons voting in federal elections.
12. In 2013 white people made up 63.7% of the US population and 33.3% of the prison population. Black people made up 12.6% of the US population and 36.2% of the prison population.
13. In 2004, the Alabama Republican Party Chair stated that the party was "opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don't tend to vote Republican."
14. The number of people incarcerated in US jails and prisons grew from 501,866 in 1980 (182,288 in jail + 319,598 in prison) to 2,305,900 in 2013 (731,200 in jail + 1,574,700 in prison) - a 359.5% increase during a period when the US population increased by 39.7%.