Last updated on: 11/26/2007 | Author:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Biography

Pro to the question "Should People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences Be Allowed to Vote?"

“In response to a strong lobbying effort by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Rhode Island legislature today approved legislation paving the way for a Constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to probationers and parolees.

‘The legislature has sent a clear message that voting is a fundamental right that should not be stripped away from people who are working, paying taxes and contributing to their communities,’ said Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island.

In lobbying for passage of the bill, the Right to Vote coalition, which includes the ACLU, emphasized the impact of widespread disenfranchisement on urban communities in particular. Felon voting rights vary from state to state, with Rhode Island’s current law the most restrictive in New England. If approved by voters, Rhode Island will join 16 other states that allow felons to vote upon completion of their prison sentence.

‘We are confident that come 2006, the voters will recognize that increased access to the electoral process benefits us all,’ said Brown.”

“Rhode Island Clears Path to Restoring Felon Voting Rights,”, June 29, 2005


“The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

“About the ACLU,” (accessed Nov. 26, 2007)


“The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

  • Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
  • Your right to due process – fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy – freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.”

“About the ACLU,” (accessed Nov. 26, 2007)

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Quoted in:
  1. Are Laws That Disenfranchise People with Felony Convictions a Form of Racial Discrimination?
  2. Should People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences Be Allowed to Vote?