Press Release: Jim Johnson Calls for Full Restoration of Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated New Jerseyans
NJPAC Forum #3: Jim Johnson Calls for Full Restoration of Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated New Jerseyans
NEWARK — To this day, New Jersey disfranchises more people than any other state in the Northeast. In New Jersey, over 70,000 people in the community are unable to vote because of a past conviction. Under New Jersey’s disfranchisement law, almost half of the people who have lost their right to vote are black. It’s clear — criminal disenfranchisement laws serve no law enforcement purpose, they only serve to silence individuals and the communities they return to.
Jim has spent his career fighting to expand democracy and protect citizens from voter suppression. As Governor, Jim will ensure that hard-won voting rights are not rolled back and that communities who have been targeted for voter suppression in the past are protected.
At tonight’s forum, Jim recalled the story of Thomas Johnson, who, after his release from a New York prison, moved Florida to begin a new life and start a re-entry program for formerly incarcerated men. While Thomas became a model citizen in every aspect of his life, he was unable to vote in the 2000 presidential elections due to Florida’s permanent disenfranchisement of people with felony convictions.
As Chair of the Brennan Center for Justice, Jim represented Thomas and a group of 600,000 formerly incarcerated individuals in Johnson v. Bush to restore their right to vote. The case exposed the law’s racist roots and helped lead to major reforms in Florida.
Jim understands firsthand that voting rights and civic engagement are key parts of a successful path back to re-entering society. As Governor, Jim will restore full voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals in New Jersey. As he has done throughout his career, as Governor, Jim will continue to fight against voter suppression at every turn and ensure that citizens do not have their right to vote wrongly taken away.
In February, Jim released an ethics and electoral reform plan, which includes implementing weekend early voting and online, same-day, and automatic voter registration. As Governor, Jim will ensure that elections are contests that reflect the will of the people.