|February 13, 2023 11:04 AM
|Representative Joe Webster
|All House members
|Increase Voter Registration Among Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
I plan to introduce legislation requiring individuals to complete a voter registration application or a form declining voter registration prior to their release or discharge from a correctional facility. This legislation will ensure that formerly incarcerated individuals are given a chance to reinvolve themselves in civic responsibility, to the benefit of the entire community.
Many individuals do not realize that their voting rights that may have been limited while incarcerated are fully restored upon release. Giving formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity to be civically engaged can help their transition back into their communities. Research shows that formerly incarcerated individuals who are encouraged to register and vote show stronger trust in government and the criminal justice system, perceive government as being fairer and more representative, and report an increased willingness to cooperate with law enforcement. The results suggest that restoring voting rights to disenfranchised citizens helps those citizens develop the types of pro-democratic attitudes commonly associated with successful post-prison re-entry, reduced tendencies to commit crime, and lower rates of recidivism.1
This is common sense legislation designed to ensure that all eligible voters can participate in our elections. Many aspects of re-entering communities upon release from a correctional facility are difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals. It is time that civic reengagement is no longer a difficult aspect. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Your consideration is greatly appreciated.
Introduced as HB278