New Mexico OKs Legislation to Restore Voting Rights to Former Felons

PC justgrimes via flickr

By Tommy Nguyen

WASHINGTON, DC – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham late last week signed into law the New Mexico Voting Rights Act, historic legislation that automatically restores voting rights to over 11,000 citizens who are completing their felony sentence on probation or parole.

“OLÉ (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment) is excited to announce that formerly incarcerated community members will no longer be discouraged by the barriers that have prevented civic engagement,” said Justin Allen, Inclusive Democracy Organizer with OLÉ.

Allen added, “The Voting Rights Act has made the election more accessible for community members who have been marginalized by disenfranchisement.”

According to The Sentencing Project, more than 4.6 million Americans, representing two percent of the total voting-age population across the country, were ineligible to vote in 2022 due to laws that prevent people with felony convictions from voting.

The Sentencing Project notes Black and Latinx people are disproportionately impacted by this restriction. One out of 30 Black New Mexicans of voting age was disenfranchised due to a felony conviction during the 2022 midterm election, while one in 65 Latinx New Mexicans of voting age was also ineligible to vote during the last election cycle.

“The Voting Rights Act will make New Mexico safer by expanding and guaranteeing voting rights for people with felony convictions,” said Nicole Porter, Senior Director of Advocacy with The Sentencing Project. “We encourage New Mexico lawmakers to finish the work guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of their incarceration status.”

Across the country, at least 14 states have introduced proposals this year focused on the restoration and expansion of voting rights, expanding the right to vote to people who have a history with the criminal legal system.

About The Author

Tommy is a sophomore majoring in Economics and minoring in Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is an international student from Vietnam and fueled with the frustration agaisnt flawed justice system that lets down the minority. He is aspired to become a criminal justice attorney and will hopefully attend law school in 2025.

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