NJSpotlight.com’s Colleen O’Dea reports

The celebration was muted due to the current pandemic, but advocates and two men on parole who led a two-year battle to win back the right to vote celebrated nonetheless on Tuesday, the first day they were allowed to re-register to vote as early as the June primary.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice livestreamed the low-key event at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, as Ron Pierce and Antonne Henshaw, former prisoners, walked one after the other to a podium, signed a voter registration form and talked about their feelings on regaining the right to vote.

“Since the governor signed the bill restoring voting rights to approximately 83,000 people in New Jersey on parole and on probation, I have been counting the days down to this day, when I could use the pen the governor used to sign the legislation into law to fill out and sign my registration form, reinstating my right to vote, letting me have a meaningful say in the direction of my community, state and nation,” said Ron Pierce, an NJISJ fellow who has been denied the vote for 34 years, including after his release from prison on a murder conviction.