Alabama has one of the most convoluted voter restoration processes in the country! And, the pandemic brought GBM’s voter restoration work to a screeching halt. But, we can’t stop and we won’t stop. GBM is committed now more than ever in assisting people with restoring their right to vote. We view our commitment to voter restoration as a much needed investment in helping people have a voice and reconnect with their community. Civic connection leads to a stronger democracy AND safer communities.
The vast majority of people disenfranchised in Alabama are not incarcerated. They live in our communities. They are our neighbors, own homes, work jobs, have families and pay taxes. It hurts more than it helps to deny these same individuals the right to fully participate in our democracy. Voter restoration isn’t a “nouveau” or “niche” issue. It’s an issue that directly affects the quality of life of tens of thousands of people in Alabama who are trying to rebuild their lives. Denying the vote to those that have been ensnared in the criminal justice system is antidemocratic, and undermines the moral commitment to rehabilitating people who have paid their debt to society.
Mechanisms for restoring voting rights to those with prior criminal histories must be improved. Voting rights should not be a political football. This is a bipartisan issue because our democracy is diminished when officeholders and political parties, for their own political gain, try to keep people from voting.
The Reclaim My Vote Initiative launches on August 12, 2020. If you want to know more and figure out ways that you can plug in, please contact Tari Williams, GBM’s Systems Change Organizing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hotline number: 1-866-222-8683 (toll free)