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Should Prisoners Maintain the Right to Vote?

New Jersey criminal defense lawyerNearly 100,000 disenfranchised individuals in the state of New Jersey could potentially have their voting privileges returned thanks to dedicated New Jersey lawmakers. Members of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus argue that the current system disproportionately harms black citizens and unfairly penalizes individuals who are already paying for the crimes they’ve committed.

Voting Regulations in New Jersey

Current laws allow convicted criminals to regain their right to vote, but they must have already paid back any owed fees and completed their criminal sentence. Inmates currently in jail, serving probation or on parole are not allowed to vote. Experts at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice found over 94,000 individuals are currently being denied the right to vote. Proposed legislation would allow inmates to vote in their home district with absentee ballots. If legislation passes, then New Jersey will become the third state to allow prison inmates to vote.

Governor Phil Murphy has publicly supported the notion of extending voting rights to those on parole and probation, but it’s unclear whether he will support the current proposed legislation. Advocates strongly point to racial disparities in the current system, while opponents argue that criminals shouldn’t be trusted to influence public policy through voting. Opponents believe that disenfranchisement is an efficient deterrent to crime and an appropriate punishment for breaking the law.

Schedule a Consultation With a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer

The criminal justice system has always been biased against convicted criminals, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that such proposed legislation is receiving harsh criticism. When you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, it’s important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney you can count on to protect your rights. Criminal defense attorney Stephen R. Piper has been serving clients facing criminal law issues since 1998. To learn more about how his services can benefit you, reach out to his office at 856-861-3330.

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