February 22, 2018

The Institute invites you  to join us on Monday, February 26 at a press conference to introduce historic legislation that will restore voting rights to nearly 100,000 people on probation, parole, and in prison. To learn more about New Jersey’s disfranchisement bill, please read the Institute’s report, We Are 1844 No More: Let Us Vote

Joining us will be the authors of the legislation, Senator Ronald Rice, Senator Sandra Cunningham, and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter. Our colleagues from the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, ACLU of New Jersey, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey will also join us, along with people in New Jersey who have been denied the right to vote, community leaders, Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and Reverend Charles Boyer, among others.

The press conference will be held on Monday, February 26 — the anniversary of Congress’s approval of the 15th Amendment — at 11:00 AM at the State House, located at 125 W. State Street in Trenton, NJ, in Room 103. Please RSVP to Communications Director Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg at ewgreenberg@njisj.org as space is limited.

New Jersey first denied the right to vote to people with criminal convictions in 1844, the same year it adopted a constitution that restricted voting to white men.

Today, about half of those denied access to this fundamental right are Black, even though Black people make up just 15 percent of New Jersey’s overall population. Today, more Black  people in New Jersey are denied the right to vote because of a criminal conviction than were barred from voting before racial discrimination in voting was prohibited by the 15th Amendment in 1870.

New Jersey denies the right to vote to more people than the total population of New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton. Our state denies the right to vote to more people than live in Camden, Hoboken, Montclair, and each of more than 150 other municipalities in New Jersey.

As my colleague Scott Novakowski recently wrote, we must sever the antidemocratic link between the right to vote and the criminal justice system.

Please stand with us on February 26 as we raise our collective voices to erase this moral stain on our democracy.

We are 1844 no more. Let us vote!