National: Presumed guilty: Ex-felons face barriers to voting rights | MSNBC
When the votes are tallied in Virginia’s race for governor on Tuesday, over 300,000 citizens will be missing from the voting rolls – including 20% of the state’s black population. The reason is not low turnout or voter ID, but a growing and often invisible barrier to voting that is upending elections around the country. Over 5 million Americans are barred from voting because they have criminal records, according to a report this year from the Sentencing Project. The crackdown on ballot access is so intense, a majority of states actually bar former convicts from voting even after they are released from prison. If voting rights were restored to those former inmates, about 4.3 million more Americans would be able to vote. That is over three times margin of victory in the last House midterm elections.