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Sumter, Tucker, Holley & Timberlake Bill to Repeal Law Prohibiting Voting for Individuals With Convictions Clears Assembly

New Jersey Assembly Democrats Press Release

Bill to Restore Voting Rights to Persons on Parole or Probation

Asserting the right to vote as both fundamental and critical to democracy, a bill restoring voting rights to individuals on parole or probation was passed 46-23-1 in the full Assembly on Monday. The legislation is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Cleopatra Tucker, Jamel Holley and Britnee Timberlake.

The bill (A-5823) would remove the prohibition on voting by persons on parole and/or probation convicted for an indictable offense under any federal or state laws, which in New Jersey are offenses for crimes of the fourth through first degree.

“New Jersey can lead the nation as a model of racial justice and inclusive democracy with the enactment of this bill,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The privilege to participate in the election process is a constitutional right afforded every American regardless of background, race or status. Every person of voting age should have the ability to cast their ballot without interference and without judgement of their personal history.”

Former State Legislators Sue Over Term Limits

Route 50's Emma Coleman Reports

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | New Jersey Assembly passes voting bill for those on parole and probation … States question Census Bureau’s request for data … New York City Councilmembers call for cycling and pedestrian safety offices.

A bipartisan group of eight former Michigan state legislators filed a federal lawsuit challenging term limits that kept them from running again. The lawmakers take aim at a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1992 that limits legislators to 14 years of service, so their complaint does not apply to limits on statewide positions like governor and attorney general. According to the suit, the restrictions—which they call unconstitutional— have “proved a failed social experiment” and decrease a voter’s ability to support the candidate of their choice.

'Voiceless Ghosts of Democracy': 90,000 US Citizens With Criminal Records Set to Have Voting Rights Restored in New Jersey

MSN News' Clark Mindock Reports

A measure that would restore the right to vote to nearly 90,000 American citizens in New Jersey could soon become law, after the state approved the measure in a party-line vote.

The bill, which Democrats managed to pass, is the latest effort across the United States to ensure that former felons are able to vote once they’ve left prison — and illustrates the power of local elections after a blue wave swept through the state in 2018.

The measure — which would extend voting rights to convicted felons who have been released from prison or jail, but are still on probation or parole — now goes to the Democrat-controlled state senate, where it must be approved before it can be passed along to Democratic governor Phil Murphy’s desk.

NJ Assembly Passes Voting Rights for People on Parole and Probation

 

 

New Jersey Assembly Passes Bill to Restore Vote to People on Parole and Probation 

A5823 Next Moves to Senate 

NEWARK – Two years after the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and its partners launched the 1844 No More campaign to restore voting rights for those with criminal convictions, the New Jersey Assembly today passed legislation (A5823) to restore the vote to people on parole and probation. 

Activist’s Removal From Statehouse is Pattern to Silence Opposition, Advocates Claim

Burlington County Times' David Levinsky Reports

Leaders from several advocacy groups held a news conference Friday where they both condemned Sue Altman’s removal and also expressed concerns about how other advocates have been treated at the Statehouse, particularly when they oppose leaders on controversial issues or legislation.

TRENTON — Camden activist Sue Altman’s ejection from a Senate committee hearing room on Monday captured national attention, but fellow advocates and activists claim it’s far from the only example of state legislators using what they describe as “un-democratic” tactics to silence or limit public participation and opposition.

NJ Closer to Letting People on Parole, Probation Vote

Patch.com's Eric Kiefer Reports

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The right to vote is "fundamental and critical" to a healthy democracy. And that also goes for people who are out of prison on parole or probation, a quartet of lawmakers from North Jersey say.

On Monday, A-5823 passed the full state Assembly by a vote of 46-23-1. If it becomes law, the bill would remove the prohibition on voting by persons on parole and/or probation convicted for an indictable federal or state offense.

Read the full bill.

Assembly Passes Bill Returning Voting Rights to Parolees, Probationers — But Not Prisoners

NJ Spotlight's Colleen O'Dea Reports

The Legislature took a major step toward extending the right to vote to people on probation and parole, when the Assembly on Monday passed a bill that does not go quite as far as advocates had hoped but would return about 80,000 New Jerseyans to the voter rolls.

It took 21 months for the effort to end New Jersey’s prohibition on voting for anyone still serving any part of a criminal sentence, which activists characterized as a civil rights issue when announcing it in February 2018. It was a newly introduced bill (A-5823) that passed during this lame duck session. Left out of that bill, and part of the original push, are those who are still incarcerated.

Time’s Up: Let’s Flush an Ancient Law With Racist Origins | Editorial

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board Writes

An archaic state law deprives thousands of New Jerseyans the right to vote, because a few men from the Whig party in 1844 decided that the loss of freedom alone was an inadequate punishment for horse stealing or moral turpitude.

The penalty still applies to people on parole and probation. Repeat: People who have already served their sentences or people who have never even seen the inside of a jail are still disenfranchised in New Jersey.

New Jersey Assembly Passes Bill to Restore Vote to People on Parole and Probation

Insider NJ Reports

NEWARK – Two years after the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and its partners launched the 1844 No More campaign to restore voting rights for those with criminal convictions, the New Jersey Assembly today passed legislation (A5823) to restore the vote to people on parole and probation.

This historic legislation, which will restore the vote to 83,000 people in New Jersey whose voices have been silenced due to institutionalized voter suppression, will now move to the Senate.

“We commend the New Jersey Assembly for taking this huge step forward toward restoring voting rights to people with criminal convictions in New Jersey,” said Ryan P.  Haygood, President & CEO of the Institute.

State Assembly Approves Restoration of Voting Rights to Some Convicted Criminals

NJTVonline.org's Michael Aron Reports

At the State House on Monday, the vote was 46 in favor, 23 against, with one abstention, for a bill that would give convicted criminals who are out on parole or probation the right to vote.

Ron Pierce, who spent 30 years in prison for murder, was among those supporting the bill.

“You have 141 collateral consequences in this country for people with felony convictions,” said Pierce, who now works for in Newark at the NJ Institute for Social Justice. “And I think the first process in trying to decimate them is to get the vote back, so you have a voice in the government, so you could speak your voice through your vote.”