50 signatures reached
To: U.S. Congress and state legislators
Fix our system: NO ONE should be jailed or imprisoned for an unintentional voting error
The racist practice of felony disenfranchisement purposely sows confusion in our communities and has no place in a democracy that aims to include all voices. And nobody should be jailed or imprisoned for an unintentional voting error.
We cannot incarcerate people for good-faith efforts to participate in democracy.
Why is this important?
There are people in jail right now for the “crime” of not realizing they’d lost their right to vote.
Take Pamela Moses – whose story sparked national outrage when Tennessee officials gave her six years in prison for voting without realizing that she’d been disenfranchised by her past felony conviction, even after officials told her her voting rights were restored.
The charge was later abandoned after Moses won a new trial – but it’s far from the only case.
Just this summer, Therris L. Conney got one full year added to his jail sentence – after officials inaccurately told him he could vote while serving time in a county jail.
The unjust reality is that when it comes to voting errors, those who are least able to mount a defense are punished more harshly. As a result, poor and Black people in the U.S. are punished more harshly for lesser violations than wealthy white retirees.
That’s NOT how our democracy should work. We need to fix these inconsistencies in our legal system – and get rid of the racist felony disenfranchisement laws that put people in these precarious situations.
We shouldn’t be incarcerating people for good-faith efforts to participate in democracy. It’s time to fix our system so that ALL of us get the say we deserve in our democracy – and no one is put in jail for an honest voting mistake.