Did You Know?
- 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.
- In 1792 Kentucky became the first US state to ban convicted criminals from voting.
- There are 10 states (AL, AZ, DE, FL, IA, KY, MS, NV, TN, WY) where some felons may be permanently barred from voting, even after release, probation, parole, and fines.
- 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.
- In 2012 US jails and prisons housed 2,255,997 people - more than the entire populations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont combined.
- Maine and Vermont are the only two states where felons are permitted to vote while in prison.
- In Canada, and at least 20 other countries, convicted felons have no voting restrictions and can vote while incarcerated.
- In 1882 the US Congress passed the Edmunds Act banning convicted polygamists from voting or holding political office.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2002, the US Senate voted 63-31 against legislation that would have restored voting rights to ex-felons voting in federal elections.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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%.