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Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation to guarantee voting rights for the people with recorded felonies.

Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation to voting

Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation to voting rights for the people with recorded felonies. Legislation has been proposed by Democrats that could grant voting rights to those convicted of a felony in federal elections.

This proposed “Inclusive Democracy Act”, submitted by Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Senator Peter Welch of Vermont, aims to ensure that all citizens, irrespective of their criminal history, have the right to vote in federal elections.

 Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation to voting rights for                                     the people with recorded felonies..

If passed, this legislation stands to restore voting rights to millions of individuals in the United States.

Pressley stated that “the enactment of the legislation was crucial due to the presence of policies and judiciary decisions that persistently marginalize voters from various backgrounds”

She pointed out the detrimental impact of undermining the Voting Rights Act, gerrymandering, reductions in early voting, and other related issues.

Meanwhile, Welch emphasized the necessity of the bill in addressing outdated state laws that deny voting rights to individuals with felony convictions.

According to a nonpartisan research group called the Sentencing Project, around 4.6 million individuals were unable to cast their votes in late 2022 due to being convicted of a felony. The study also revealed that Black and Hispanic citizens are disproportionately affected by this disenfranchisement.

In response to this, Pressley emphasized the importance of safeguarding and enhancing access to voting rights for incarcerated individuals, particularly in light of efforts by Republicans and the Supreme Court to hinder these rights and exclude marginalized communities from participating in democracy.

Additionally, the proposed law mandates that incarcerated individuals be provided with information on their voting rights and be given access to mechanisms and assistance to register for voting. The legislation also necessitates the implementation of mail-in voting options for incarcerated individuals.

The current system allows states and territories to determine the voting eligibility for citizens at all government levels. The proposed bill does not interfere with states’ rights to either expand or restrict access to state or local elections.

However, the chances of the legislation being passed by the Republican-controlled House are low. In 2021, both Republicans and a majority of Democrats opposed an amendment to a voting rights reform bill, which aimed to allow individuals with felony convictions to vote.

Although the bill was eventually passed in the House, it faced obstacles in the Senate and did not progress further.

Pressley emphasized the significance of individuals maintaining connections to their communities, including through voting, due to her own family’s firsthand experience with mass incarceration.

She pointed out that voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals differ significantly across states.

Welch explained that the purpose of the bill is to assist individuals who have been consistently denied their right to engage in our democratic system.

He assured that this legislation is just one aspect of a larger effort towards expanding voting rights, which may involve changes to the Voting Rights Act and restrictions on gerrymandering.

Pressley emphasized that the United States is currently undergoing the Civil Rights movement, and the presence of discriminatory practices such as the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, gerrymandering, reduction of early voting opportunities, and similar actions by laws and courts indicate that we have not yet overcome the Jim Crow era.

“To address this ongoing injustice, it is crucial for us to reject the current unfair state of affairs and actively promote progressive policies that will reinforce our democracy and ensure inclusivity for all”, Pressley and Welch stressed.


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