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Do Voting Rights Notification Laws Increase Ex-Felon

By Marc Meredith and Michael Morse


Criminal disenfranchisement has become an area of great legislative ferment in the wake of the rise of the carceral state and the shadow of the 2000 presidential election. Previous research documents widespread confusion about who can and cannot vote among both people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system and election administrators. Such research, in concert with a wide-range of activists promoting the issue, has spurred a number of state legislatures to pass laws that require the state to notify ex-felons about their voting rights. The purpose of this paper is to better understand the policy processes that produce these notification laws and to assess whether these laws affect ex-felons ’ registration and turnout rates. Data on discharges from the correctional system and voter files are collected from three states that have recently passed notification laws: New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina. We follow recent work that matches information in these two government sources to estimate the rates of ex-felon registration and turnout. Our findings show little evidence of an increase in ex-felon registration or turnout after notification law

Year: 2013
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