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Getting voters’ attention outside of national elections can be a challenge. For voters, it’s especially difficult to keep track of dates or races that happen in the spring, such as primaries, special elections, and some key local elections.
Throughout this webinar, we discussed strategies for engaging voters in local and off-cycle elections.
Special thanks to guest speakers, Jane Ruby, of the League of Women Voters of Chicago, and Jerome Dillard and Marianne Oleson, of Ex-incarcerated People Organizing – Wisconsin for sharing their knowledge and expertise.
For more information on the areas touched on throughout the webinar, check out the list of resources below!
Are there similar organizations to EXPO in other states? If not, how can nonprofits best support the voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals?
Yes and no, there are several organizations that advocate for formerly incarcerated people: FICPFM (Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement), JLUSA, and A New Way of Life to name a few. What separates EXPO of Wisconsin is all of our staff and leadership are formerly incarcerated, we do not just advocate for our population, we ARE our population, and it makes a tremendous difference for developing trust and building relationships.
What type of mail did you send? In North Carolina, there are limits on the types of mail to be sent to inmates.
First, respectfully, please use people-centered language, words like inmate take humanity out of the equation and allows people to be treated less than human, I was an incarcerated person and have never been an inmate. I have attached the mailing we sent in. All mail-in Wisconsin prisons get sent to a sorting facility first where it is copied and sent to the institutions.
Wisconsin’s Constitution Article 1 Section 2 constitutes that slavery is illegal “otherwise than for the punishment of crime” which renders incarcerated citizens as slaves in the eyes of the law. Would EXPO be interested in removing this language from the state constitution?
Yes, we believe in ending the 13th Amendment Exception as well in the Federal Constitution.
Do EXPO and the league (of women of voters) have advocacy restoring voting rites for formerly incarcerated people?
Yes, LWV is one of our greatest allies in Wisconsin.
I live in a state where people convicted of a felony cannot regain their vote until they have completed parole and probation. I am often criticized for using the term “felon” or “ex-felon” as not being PC. But the label felon is the law, and the determining factor. “formerly incarcerated” would include those who were not convicted of a felony, even people waiting for trial and never convicted. What term would you suggest?
We use the term Justice Impacted person; it is vital to keep “person” or “people” in the term because removing it allows humanity to be removed from the treatment of us as well.
Do you have thoughts about how everyday Americans can encourage those running for office to work with others who may be politically different from themselves?
We believe in using our stories to help others see lives they may not understand or know about, it could be the same here.
What are some incentives we can give citizens to encourage them to go and vote
Our vote is our voice, it matters.