Restoring Voting Rights to People who were formerly incarcerated
Voting Rights Restoration
In New Mexico, people with felony convictions lose their right to vote. After release from incarceration, they must complete probation and/or parole, pay all associated fees, and obtain documents proving such, before being allowed to register to vote again. Often this involves multiple trips to multiple agencies to obtain the correct paperwork, putting an unnecessary burden on these citizens to get their rights restored. These barriers to the polls suppress the voices of these citizens.
Probation and parole are periods of time meant to reintegrate back into society. The ability to participate in elections is an important component of that. Fines and restitutions should not be a pre-requisite to voting, as this amounts to a poll tax. No one should be denied the right to vote due to financial circumstances.
Several attempts have been made in the NM State Legislature to restore voter registration to the formerly incarcerated, automatically upon release. We have advocated for this legislation (see 2021, 2022) and believe that this is the year it will pass. Follow our 2023 Session Page for updates!
▶️ Town Hall Livestream Event – 2/18/21 5:30pm
We heard from a panel of people who have firsthand experience navigating the current broken system of disenfranchisement, and we discussed why this bill is important to our state’s democracy.
Panelists: Alyssa Luna, Justin Allen, Kelly Garcia, Fernando Trujillo & David Reza. Moderator: Leila Salim.
- Dēmos Research Brief, 2003: Democracy Denied: The Racial History and Impact of Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States
- Sentencing Project, Jean Chung, 2019: Felony Disenfranchisement: A Primer
Washington Post, Bozelko & Lo, 2020: Five myths about felony disenfranchisement
- The Center for Nuleadership on Urban Solutions: On the Question of Language
- Justin Allen, 2020: Abolish Human Silencing: Gender Equality, Racial Equity and Reparations