Restoring voting rights for Americans convicted of felonies has been a major issue in the last year, most recently in the state of Virginia. According to The Sentencing Project, almost 6 million Americans are prohibited from voting due to laws that take the right to vote away from those convicted of a felony.
To better understand the origins of felon disfranchisement laws, we invited Dr. Pippa Holloway of Middle Tennessee State University to join us for a discussion about her most recent book Living in Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship. Pippa explains the ways that these laws were developed as a strategy to prevent black Americans from voting in the post-Civil War-era. This strategy was later exported to other states such as Idaho and Hawaii for the purposes of excluding groups whose interests were in opposition to the ruling party. Pippa also discusses the current impediments to Americans’ right to vote, and offers suggestions to ensure that Americans are not denied a voice in our political process.
-Pippa Holloway’s faculty page at Middle Tennessee State University
-Pippa Holloway, Living in Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship, (Oxford University Press, 2013).
-“Felony Disenfranchisement” from The Sentencing Project