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Episode 5: Excluded from Democracy


Episode description

For an estimated 6.1 million Americans with felony convictions, their punishment extends all the way to the ballot box. In 48 states, people with felony convictions are barred from voting, either temporarily or permanently. And twelve states, including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming, restrict at least some people’s voting rights—even after they have served their whole sentence, including supervised release.

This episode we go into the history of what is commonly known as felon disenfranchisement. We look at the racist history of disenfranchisement laws and talk about where the laws remain especially restrictive. We also learn more about Desmond Meade, a community leader in Florida, and his fight to win a high-stakes ballot referendum in the state this November.

And we talk to Norris Henderson, the Executive Director of Voices of the Experienced, or VOTE, in New Orleans. Norris is a formerly-incarcerated community leader and advocate, who played a big part in a recent effort to re-enfranchise people in Louisiana. We’ll talk to him about his experience, the uphill battle in Louisiana, and their exciting victory.

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