In 1844, New Jersey denied the vote to people with criminal convictions – the same year it restricted the vote to white men in its Constitution.
This undemocratic prohibition directly tied the racially biased criminal justice system to the sacred franchise.
Two years ago, the Institute and its partners said enough, and launched the 1844 No More campaign.
In December 2019 -- as a result of the collective advocacy of that campaign -- Governor Murphy signed into law voting rights restoration for 83,000 people on probation and parole in New Jersey. That's almost the size of the population of our capital city of Trenton!
One of those 83,000 was the Institute's own Democracy & Justice Fellow, Ron Pierce -- a friend, husband, and veteran whose voice was silenced for 34 years.
On March 17, 2020, the new law took effect.
Watch this video to see Ron talk about how it felt to get his voice back, and to see him and his friend Antonne sign their voter registration forms.
83,000 people on probation and parole are now free to vote! New Jersey first denied the vote to people with convictions in 1844, the same year it restricted voting to white men. #1844NoMore started this week, when a historic law restored voting rights to Ron Pierce, Antonne Henshaw, and 83,000 people on probation and parole! This is what democracy looks like! Watch them register to vote live here! Help us make sure that 83,000 new people now fill out this voter register form: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/njisj/pages/1355/attachments/original/1584455310/Voter_Registration_Form.pdf?1584455310Posted by New Jersey Institute for Social Justice on Tuesday, March 17, 2020
For a voter registration form, please click here or visit the New Jersey Secretary of State's site for county registration forms and registration forms in various languages:
Institute Associate Counsel and Debevoise Fellow Scott Novakowski writes for NJ Spotlight on why we must restore the right to vote to people with criminal convictions.
Over 102,000 people can’t vote in New Jersey. Learn why and take action to restore their rights. #1844nomore
Today, nearly 175 years later, though legal slavery has been abolished and New Jersey no longer explicitly prohibits Black people from voting, New Jersey continues to deny voting rights to people with criminal convictions.
Read the Institute's new report profiling people denied the vote