May issue of Focus – felons and voting rights

May issue of Focus – felons and voting rights – Brief Article

Stephanie Williams

Felony convictions have substantially reduced the pool of the nation’s African American male voters, writes Marc Mauer in the May issue of Focus magazine. “The disenfranchisement of felons and ex-felons is one of many aspects of the seamy underside of American electoral practice that has become exposed in Florida and elsewhere.” The result, he adds, “has been disastrous.” Mauer is assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice think tank based in Washington, D.C. About 3.9 million Americans were ineligible to vote in last year’s election because they had felony convictions, Mauer notes, and 1.4 million of these were black men. That group represents 13 percent of the African American voting-age population. “No other democracy banishes ex-felons from voting for life,” he writes. Focus is published monthly by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based research group that focuses on minority issues.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Community Renewal Society

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group