Restore Voting Rights for Millions Disenfranchised
As Americans, we hold that voting is a constitutional right and the opportunity to exercise this right should be fair and accessible to all. Yet despite our nation’s fundamental belief in a participatory democracy, the right to vote is actively denied to millions of Americans.
The Democracy Restoration Act of 2011 (H.R. 2212/S. 2017) would restore voting rights to individuals who have been released from incarceration. Four million men and women in the United States continue to remain disenfranchised from voting in federal elections even after being released from prison. Upon release from incarceration, these citizens work, pay taxes, live in our communities and bring up families, yet they are without a voice. The legislation would also deny federal funds to correctional institutions unless they offer a program to education incarcerated individuals of their voting rights upon release.
Currently, voting rights for previously incarcerated individuals varies from state to state, which is why we need a uniform standard across the country for federal elections. The Democracy Restoration Act would fulfill the American democratic ideal by guaranteeing every one of its tax-paying citizens the right to vote.
As Jews, we celebrate a proud tradition of fairness with regard to voting and elections. Rabbi Yitzhak instructs that “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Babylonian Talmud Berachot 55a). Instances of voter disenfranchisement compel us to speak out, as it is our duty to ensure that all citizens are afforded the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted.
Tell Congress to support the Democracy Restoration Act (H.R. 2212/S. 2017) and give voice to over four million Americans who continue to remain disenfranchised. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121, or you can send an email to your Senators and Representative by entering your zip code below.