Stop Politically Disenfranchising People of Color

Policy Goals: End Our Political Disenfranchisement

Taxation without representation is tyranny.

James Otis, activist in the American Revolution, 1761

A defining feature of American democracy has been and continues to be the intentional political disenfranchisement of people of color—stripping our constitutional right to vote and excluding us from legislative representation. The disenfranchisement of people of color has taken many shapes throughout history, but currently falls most heavily on the formerly and currently incarcerated and people living in US districts and territories.

It has become an unfortunate feature of our democracy to withhold voting rights as a consequence of judicial punishment. All but two states (Maine and Vermont) restrict the voting rights of people who have been convicted of a felony. This means that 6.1 million people with criminal records cannot vote.

Four million people living in US territories cannot vote for President nor have representative votes in the Senate or House.  Despite being US citizens and serving in the US military, the residents of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands join Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in not having a vote. A common link between the residents of these islands plus 700,000 people living in the District of Columbia is that they are majority people of color living in the US without voting rights. The political disenfranchisement of people of color must end! Help us identify the right policies that will put us on that path. Here are some ideas we have identified so far:

Policies for Consideration:

  • Voting enfranchisement for the currently and formerly incarcerated
  • Full congressional and electoral college representation for the District of Columbia and all US territories.

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