Voting has a special place in our democracy, and if an individual is eligible to vote, whether confined in a jail or not, that right must be honored. As the Supreme Court noted in the 1964 case, Reynolds v. Sims: Undoubtedly, the right of suffrage is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society. Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized....
There is, however, a misconception on the part of some jail officials and local election authorities that people detained in jail cannot vote, and there are few programs that make it possible for detainees to exercise their right to do so. Detainees themselves often do not realize they can vote, and the logistical considerations of registering and/or voting from jail can make it extremely difficult.
The American Civil Liberties Union has thus drafted this toolkit in hopes of broadening discussion of this issue and to promote re-enfranchisement.
Interested in reading this report? Click here!