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The disenfranchisement of millions of voters, many of them African American, in Florida in 2000 was criminal. Recent news reports show Republicans are plotting to do it again. This time around, lawyers and other volunteers are part of a nationwide “election protection” team to make sure voting rights are adhered to and every vote is counted.

Voter empowerment starts with knowing your rights.
You have the right to:
• Vote without being discriminated against based on
race, color, or language.
• Vote free from coercion or intimidation.
• Vote with a provisional ballot if your registration is
in question.
• Receive an explanation if your registration is in
• Find out if your provisional ballot was counted and,
if it wasn’t, the reason why.
• Vote if you are in line when the polls close.
• Vote in a polling place, which is accessible if you
are disabled or elderly.
• Ask for help and receive assistance in voting,
including from someone of your choice.

On Election Day — bring an ID to the polls
in case it is needed.

In 14 states, people with felony convictions can lose their right to vote for life, even after completing their sentences. People in local jails, who are usually awaiting trial or were convicted of misdemeanors, can vote. But felony voting rights vary from state to state.

Voting restored after incarceration: Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah.
Voting restored after release and parole completion
(probationers can vote): California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York.

Voting restored after completion of sentence, including
parole, and probation: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Voting while
incarcerated: Maine, Vermont.

Sources: AFL-CIO, Voices for Working Families, Campaign to End Felony Disenfranchisement.