Michigan Prisoners To Be Automatically Registered To Vote Upon Release

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Source: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Michigan, which already allows former felons to register to vote after prison, will expand voting rights to automatically register those leaving prison to vote. The new law will go into effect in 2025, just after the 2024 election.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Kyle Kaminski, explains, “So the Department of State would pre-register folks… and then would update those records [upon the prisoner’s release] so that they can vote. So really what the legislation does is it codifies this practice to ensure that it’ll continue long term.”

Michigan is one of 23 states that restore the right to vote to former felons upon their release from prison. Washington, D.C., Maine, and Vermont allow prisoners to vote while incarcerated. Louisiana requires the completion of parole in addition to release from prison. 15 states require the completion of the prison sentence as well as parole and probation. And in nine states those convicted of felonies may lose their right to vote permanently.

About 4.6 million Americans cannot vote due to a felony conviction.

1. Should states automatically register people leaving prison to vote? Should anyone be automatically registered to vote? Explain your answers.

2. Should former felons be allowed to vote? Under what circumstances (after prison, after parole, or after another repayment to society, for example)? Explain your answer(s).

3. Should felons be able to vote while incarcerated? Explain your answer.

Michelle Jokisch Polo, “New Michigan Law Means People Leaving Prison Will Automatically Be Registered To Vote,” npr.org, Dec. 16, 2023