The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, today launched the Yes! You Can Vote! campaign, promoting the voting rights of all Hoosiers, focusing on individuals who have been previously incarcerated, transgender individuals, individuals with disabilities, recently naturalized citizens and college students.
Laws regarding whether or not people who have been previously incarcerated can vote, vary from state to state, leading to mass-misinformation. Indiana is one of only 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, where all people who have been previously incarcerated can vote. Individuals lose their voting rights only while incarcerated, and receive automatic restoration upon release. Individuals on parole, probation, home detention, in jail awaiting trial, or in a variety of community correction programs, can vote.
Over 50,000 individuals have been released from jail or prison in Marion, Allen, and Elkhart County alone over the last decade.
“We hope that every Hoosier makes their voice heard, owns their power, and exercises their right to vote on November 3. But you can’t use your rights, unless you know your rights,” said Jane Henegar, Executive Director at the ACLU of Indiana. “The strength of our democracy lies in the right of every American to vote.”
Voting laws vary from state to state. Across the country, 1 of every 13 African-Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws, vs. 1 in every 56 non-black voters. Reports show that before the Civil War, voting rights and the loss of those rights weren’t linked to convictions.
“In some states, Jim Crow-era laws intended to disenfranchise Black people, still keep individuals who have been incarcerated from voting today,” said Henegar. “Here in Indiana, we want to make it clear, if you have been previously incarcerated, yes – you can vote.”