New Jersey Senate Committee Passes Bill to Restore Vote to People on Parole and Probation
S4260 Moves to Full Senate Monday
NEWARK – The Community & Urban Affairs Committee of the New Jersey Senate today passed legislation (S4260) to restore the vote to people in New Jersey on parole and probation.
This historic legislation, which will restore the vote to 83,000 people whose voices have been silenced due to institutionalized voter suppression, will now move to the full Senate for a vote on Monday, Dec. 16.
"With today's Committee vote, we've moved another important step forward toward passing historic legislation to restore the vote to 83,000 people on parole and probation. New Jersey first denied the right to vote to people with convictions in 1844, the same year it restricted voting to white men in its Constitution. We look forward to the full Senate passing this bill next week, and Governor Murphy signing the bill into law," said Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the Institute.
This legislation will directly impact the Institute’s Democracy & Justice Fellow, Ron Pierce, who is on parole.
“Since I was a child, participating in our democratic process has been important to me,” said Pierce. “With each step closer to the passage of this bill, I become more hopeful about casting my first ballot in over thirty years. I look forward to really celebrating when I know it’s a done deal because the Governor’s signature has turned this bill into law.”
Almost half the people denied the vote in New Jersey are Black, compared to only 15% of the population.
The Institute and its partners, through the 1844 No More campaign, have been advocating for voting rights restoration for all people with criminal convictions, including for people in prison.
“Final passage of this bill will bring us 83,000 times closer to the day when New Jersey joins states like Maine and Vermont and becomes a robust and inclusive democracy that does not silence people with criminal convictions,” said Henal Patel, Associate Counsel at the Institute. “When this bill makes it out of the full Senate and is signed by the Governor, we will celebrate the momentous progress, while continuing the fight to restore the vote to the 19,000 people in prison who are not included in this legislation.”