Kinsey announces legislation to end felony disenfranchisement

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced today his intention to introduce a package of legislation that would end felony disenfranchisement by allowing incarcerated felons to vote via absentee ballot.

“The right to vote is a core pillar of our democracy. Every single day that an incarcerated individual is not able to exercise their right to vote is another day that Pennsylvania acknowledges and permits the continuation of Jim Crow-era laws,” Kinsey said.

The first piece of planned legislation would remove the provision that denies an individual who has been incarcerated for a felony conviction within the last five years the ability to register to vote. It would also allow all registered voters confined to correctional facilities to apply for an absentee ballot.

The second piece of legislation would update the definition of a qualified absentee elector to include those who cannot go to their polling place on Election Day due to serving their sentence.

Pennsylvania is one of several states that fully restores the rights of all incarcerated individuals once released from confinement.

The legislation would join Pennsylvania with Maine and Vermont as states that permit convicted felons to vote while incarcerated.