Last updated on: 5/20/2019 | Author:

Andrew Novak, PhD, JD, MSc Biography

Term Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences Be Allowed to Vote?"

“The most important consequence of allowing prisoners to vote is that it would remove the incentives for ‘prison gerrymandering.’ In most U.S. states, prisoners are counted by the census based on where they are incarcerated, not where they are registered to vote. Because most large prisons are in sparsely populated rural areas, prison complexes have an important effect on gerrymandering.

Many prisoners are racial minorities or people who live in urban areas, which means these places lose voting population, while more conservative areas gain nonvoting population. This advantages Republican congressmen in places like upstate New York, who benefit from inflated populations for redistricting purposes, but have nothing to fear at election time. Prisoner disenfranchisement therefore contributes to a structural disparity that causes Congress and state legislatures to be more conservative than the public at large.”

Andrew Novak, “Bernie Sanders Got It Right on CNN: Felons Ought to Be Allowed to Vote,”, Apr. 24, 2019

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Term Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law, and Society, George Mason University, 2017-present
  • Contract Decision Writer, Black Lung Benefits, US Department of Labor, Aug. 2015-present
  • Labor and Employment Law Liaison, American Bar Association HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee, Aug. 2008-present
  • Adjunct Professor, Criminology, Law, and Society, 2013-2016
  • Adjunct Professor, African Law, Washington College of Law, American University, 2012
  • Attorney-Advisor, Chief Administrative Law Judge Stephen Purcell, Office of Administrative Law Judges, US Department of Labor, Feb. 2012-May 2012
  • Attorney-Advisor, Administrative Law Judge Pamela Lakes, Office of Administrative Law Judges, US Department of Labor, Sep. 2009–Sep. 2011
  • Contract Adjudicator, Employment Adjudication Division, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, US Department of Agriculture, Jan. 2014-Aug. 2015
  • Associate Counsel, US Board of Veterans’ Appeals, May 2012–Mar. 2013
  • Interim Judicial Clerkship Coordinator, Washington College of Law, American University, Sep. 2011–Dec. 2011
  • Intern, Activism and Research Programme, Ditshwanelo Botswana Centre for Human Rights, June 2007-Aug. 2007
  • Special Assistant to the Acting Executive Director, US Association for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sep. 2003-Sep.2004
  • PhD, Middlesex University London School of Law
  • JD, Boston University School of Law
  • MSc, African Politics, London School of Oriental and African Studies
  • BA, International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Twitter handle: @andrewjnovak
Quoted in:
  1. Should People with Felony Convictions Be Permitted to Vote while in Prison?