Election 2012 Finds Nearly 6 Million Americans with Felony Convictions Unable To Vote

Most American adults are urged to vote on Election Day. However, many U.S. citizens are unable to vote. Approximately 5.8 million Americans have lost their right to vote in the 2012 Election due to a felony conviction and four states – Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia – permanently disenfranchise ex-felons, according to the civil rights organization Advancement Project. The full story is available at: http://www.advancementproject.org/news/entry/states-deny-millions-of-ex-felons-voting-rights.

The Advancement Project reports that to restore an ex-felon’s voting rights in the four states that disenfranchise ex-felons takes “a decree by the governor or a clemency board,” and an ex-felon can submit an application only after all fines and fees are paid and a predetermined waiting period which can last two years, as in Virginia, or up to seven years, as in Florida for violent ex-felons. Some people with felony convictions are allowed to vote after they are released from supervision in seven states:

  • Alabama,
  • Arizona,
  • Delaware,
  • Mississippi,
  • Nevada,
  • Tennessee, and
  • Wyoming.

Voting rights advocates say the personal and political impact of disenfranchisement can be enormous as whole masses of people are prevented from voting. According to figures quoted in the story from The Sentencing Project, one in every 40 American adults – and about one in 13 African-Americans in the voting-age population  – is disenfranchised because of a felony conviction. The number of Americans who have lost their right to vote due to a felony conviction has risen dramatically in the past decades:

  • Approximately 1.2 million in 1976,
  • Approximately to 3.3 million in 1996, and
  • More than 5.85 million in 2010.

A surprising number of Americans have criminal records. As reported earlier in the ESR News blog, the March 2011 study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) ‘65 Million “Need Not Apply” – The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment’ estimated that 64.6 million people in the United States – more than one in four adults – had criminal records. The study from NELP is available at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/65_Million_Need_Not_Apply.pdf?nocdn=1.

Criminal background checks used by employers have come under great scrutiny recently. In April 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – voted to approve updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complete text of the updated EEOC Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

To help employers comply with updated EEOC rules, Attorney and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), has written a new whitepaper: ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper is currently undergoing a controlled release and is available only to employers interested in screening by emailing EEOCwhitepaper@esrcheck.com.

For information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com. For information about the newly published second edition of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by Lester Rosen, which contains an entire chapter devoted to the updated EEOC Guidance, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/SafeHiringManual.php.

Sources:
http://www.advancementproject.org/news/entry/states-deny-millions-of-ex-felons-voting-rights
http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2011/03/23/nelp-study-recommends-reforming-employment-background-checks-since-over-1-in-4-adult-americans-have-criminal-records/
http://www.nelp.org/page/-/65_Million_Need_Not_Apply.pdf?nocdn=1.
http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more, visit http://www.esrcheck.com, call 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.

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