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To: Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch and Governor JB Pritzker

#UnlockCivics: Our Democracy Must Include People Impacted by the American Legal System

#UnlockCivics: Our Democracy Must Include People Impacted by the American Legal System

The year 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many things. The perilous conditions people in prison endure and the role exclusion from our democratic processes play in exacerbating such conditions are among them. Lack of quality judicial training, the abolishment of a parole system, and the disenfranchisement of people in prison have all contributed to the crisis occurring in Illinois prisons. People are serving extreme sentences–without the opportunity for early release–and unable to hold elected officials accountable to hearing and addressing their needs. Given the impact of COVID-19 on individuals experiencing incarceration, the need to restore the right to vote to people in prisons and ensure people impacted by the legal system have access to all their civic rights and responsibilities is even more urgent.

Why is this important?

The lives of people in prison are influenced by policies made by elected officials and those who are elected are held accountable by their constituents. Until people in prison are given the right to vote, making up the constituency, they are unable to hold elected officials accountable.

Chicago Votes’ #UnlockCivics legislative platform works at the intersection of organizing and advocacy to ensure that people affected by the American legal system have access to their civic rights and responsibilities.

Take the pledge to support a more inclusive democracy by signing our #UnlockCivics legislative platform.

Clarifies language in the IL constitution to allow people in prison to vote.

Establishes that after serving 20 years, a person is eligible to have their case heard in front of the Parole Review Board.

Expands the state minimum wage to include people serving a sentence at the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Ensures Judges receive quarterly training on racial bias, child abuse, and the impact of trauma on youth brain development.

This bill provides that no person who is qualified and able to serve as a juror may be excluded from jury service on the basis of a previous criminal record.

Contact Chicago Votes:
Stevie Valles
Executive Director

Jen Dean
Deputy Director

Follow the Work @ChicagoVotes #UNLOCKCIVICS


2021-03-25 13:08:17 -0400

MoveOn Family! Join us Tonight!
Town Hall on Voting Rights Restoration for People in Prison

The fight to restore voting rights to people currently incarcerated in Illinois prisons gains momentum in the Illinois legislature, with a subject matter hearing on House Bill 1872. Chicago Votes to hold town hall on the path to voting rights restoration for people in Illinois prisons.

WHEN: Thursday, March 25th from 5-6pm CT
WHERE: Zoom -
WHO: Representative La Shawn Ford, Monica Cosby, a formerly incarcerated organizer and activist, Dr. Christina Rivers, professor of political science at DePaul University, Jauwan Hall, U.S. Army veteran, and Katrina Phidd, Chicago Votes’ communications and digital strategy manager.

2021-03-09 23:39:42 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2020-11-12 14:39:07 -0500

500 signatures reached

2020-09-01 10:56:32 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-07-25 10:22:48 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-07-09 11:35:36 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-06-30 20:46:59 -0400

10 signatures reached