VOTING RIGHTS EXPERTS DISCUSS BUREAUCRATIC BARRIERS KEEPING ELIGIBLE VOTERS FROM 2004 ELECTION POLLS - Mitch Perry

08/09/04

A Voting Advocacy group says there are nearly 5 million Americans who are NOT eligible to vote because they have been convicted of felonies. Florida is one of 6 states that refuses to give automatic restoration of Civil and Voting Rights to those people who have paid their debt to society. But in the 40 something states that DO restore Voting Rights automatically, a significant amount of that population is never informed that they do have that right.

Robin Templeton is the Executive Director of the group Right To Vote

(roll tape#1 o.q."fell down on the job")

A report issued last week said there is a serious problem in the battleground state of Ohio with informing ex-felons they were eligible to vote, in effect dis-enfranchising thousands of potential voters.

The Cincinnati based Prison Advocacy Reform Center released a study last week that showed that knowledge of voting eligibility for ex-felons vary significantly depending on what part of Ohio....Again, Right To Vote's Robin Templeton (roll tape#2 o.q."called to action")

Right To Vote says there are over 4.7 million Americans who are NOT eligible to vote because they have been convicted of felonies.

David Singleton is Director of Prison Advocacy Reform Center in Cincinnati, who worked on the study "The Disenfranchisment of the Re-infranchised", which documents how a good percentage of ex-felons in Ohio are NOT informed that they CAN vote.

(roll tape#3 o.q."barred from voting")

Ohio Senator Ray Miller says that , unlike , Florida, Ohio DOES allow ex-felons to vote, but it's not being effectively implemented (roll tape#4 o.q."responsibility")

Sheila Donaldson Johnson works as a Paralegal for the Prison Advocacy Center in Ohio, who was released from prison 18 years ago . She described what happened to her when she tried to register to vote in the Buckeye State (roll tape#5 o.q."

Jessie Allen is from the Brennan Center for Justice At NYU School of Law. That group won a suit in Court against the state of Florida this year, , charging that over 100,000 ex-felons were NEVER informed given a one page application form to simply begin the process of restoring their civil rights. She says the Ohio problem runs across the country

(roll tape#6 o.q."the books in Florida") Members who participated in today's Teleconference are calling for leading state officials in all of the states to make sure to inform ex-felons of their Voting Rights...

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