ABOUT THE LEGISLATION
All Oregonians should have a say in what happens in their community, and a voice in their government. The right to vote is enshrined in our constitution and fundamental to a vibrant and participatory democracy. But many people incarcerated in Oregon are currently denied their right to vote, leading to low-income, Black, Indigenous, and Latine people being disproportionately disenfranchised.
This is why we are working to pass historic legislation (SB 579) in Oregon's 2023 state legislative session in order to ensure every incarcerated Oregonian can:
Register to vote
Update their voter registration
Vote in elections based on where they resided prior to incarceration.
Anthony Richardson, Adult in Custody
"Prison is about the loss of liberty,
not the loss of citizenship.”
This is Why
Ensure successful reintegration back into our communities
95 percent of people in prison will return to their communities. Study after study has shown that successful re-entry greatly reduces the likelihood of people returning to prison — that includes ensuring people can become engaged and active in their communities. Guaranteeing the right to vote keeps people involved in their communities and makes our communities safer.
Address unjust impacts of mass incarceration
Due to biases and inequities in our criminal legal system, low-income, Black, Indigenous, and Latine people are more likely to be incarcerated and denied the right to vote. For many people, life after prison means partial citizenship. As we work to reimagine our criminal legal system, one of the first changes we can make is to restore voting rights to people who are most impacted by that system: those inside prisons.
Voting is a civic right and responsibility
Voting is a right that cannot and should not be taken away from any citizen. No matter your race, area code, or income, every Oregonian should have an equal say in what happens in our state and our community. Denying Oregonians the ability to vote not only denies them a right, but it denies them the ability to fulfill their civic responsibility to our democracy.