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Hidden with code "Submitted as Feature"
News :: Human Rights : Politics : Race
Report: 3% of Black men in Massachusetts disenfranchised
02 Nov 2004
This is the first presidential election since Massachusetts prisoners were stripped of the right to vote. The effected population is disproportionately Black. More than 3% of Black men in Massachusetts are denied the right to vote.
Northampton, MA (October 31, 2004) - When George Bush ran against Al Gore, every Black adult citizen in Massachusetts was allowed to cast a ballot. This November, more than one out of every hundred Black adults in the state -- and three out of every 100 Black men -- will be denied that right, charged a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative. The report shows that Blacks are disenfranchised in Massachusetts at a rate 6 times higher than for Whites.

(Massachusetts amended its constitution in 2000 to deny prisoners the right to vote. This was the first time the constitution was amended to take away rights from a group.)

The report, Jim Crow in Massachusetts? Prisoner disenfranchisement is the first documentation of the racially disparate impact of prisoner disenfranchisement in Massachusetts. Blacks are only 5.5% of Massachusetts citizens, but are 29% of the state's disenfranchised. Latinos are 6.8% of the state, but are 25% of those barred from the polls.

"The history of the right to vote is generally one of continual expansion of the franchise", said report author Peter Wagner. "It is unfortunate that Massachusetts took a step backwards and, in effect, told the communities that have suffered historic exclusion that they are, in fact, not welcome at the ballot box."

The report is available at:
See also:

This work is in the public domain