Restoration of Voting Rights
Voting is a civil right.
The 2022 state legislative session is a historic opportunity for Oregon to end over a century of disenfranchisement of incarcerated citizens. As a leader among the states on protecting and expanding voting rights, Oregon should welcome its incarcerated citizens back into the fold as voters.
Restoring the right to vote to incarcerated Oregonians would be a historic step toward eliminating laws created in the Jim Crow era that is rooted in white supremacy and have no correlation to public safety. Today, the disenfranchisement of incarcerated citizens disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people. Passing HB 4147 is a long-overdue change that tackles this deep injustice.
More than 95% of people in prison will return to the community one day. They have children and families outside prison and are concerned with their welfare and that of the wider community. Strengthening incarcerated citizens’ participation in our community supports successful reentry. Civic engagement, specifically voting, increases the ability for reintegration, reducing recidivism and making communities safer.
I’m In, What Now?
Now we’ve got to get our elected officials on board. Oregon’s legislative session has already started, and lawmakers are deciding what is and isn’t on the agenda for the 2022 session. It’s on all of us to make sure they understand this bill is a priority for Oregonians.
We’re counting on you to contact your representatives and let them know that this issue matters to you. Although it might not seem like it sometimes, you’re technically their boss, so don’t be shy, let them know this issue is important enough to address during this legislative session.
Voting Rights for Oregonian’s in Prison
There are many interlocking systems and schools of thought that perpetuate assumptions about felony disenfranchisement. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that the right to vote should not be taken away regardless of incarceration status, while critically analyzing arguments in favor of disenfranchisement.
Written in collaboration with Anthony Richardson, an incarcerated Oregonian, and Emily McCadden from Next Up, the report provides historical context, arguments in favor, addresses myths, and cements how racism in policing has disproportionate impacts on the disenfranchisement of communities of color.