Sept. 24, 2004 – A new study found that 14 percent of black men in Atlanta cannot vote because of restrictions on felon voting rights. According to the study, black men in Atlanta were eleven times more likely to be disenfranchised than other men. The Sentencing Project, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit advocating for the voting rights of those in the criminal justice system, released the study on Wednesday.
Ryan S. King, a co-author of the study, said the Atlanta findings were representative of other states. "Disenfranchisement goes beyond the people affected," King told the Washington Post. "It radiates throughout the community. In these neighborhoods where a significant number is restricted from voting, it affects even those who can vote, because their political voice is being diluted."
A similar study by the Rhode Island Family Life Center released concurrently with this study showed that while 3 percent of white men and 10 percent of Latinos ages eighteen to 34 cannot vote, 32 percent of their black counterparts are disenfranchised.
Sidelining five million Americans, the felon restrictions are a hot issue this election. While blacks make up just 12 percent of U.S. population, more than 40 percent of the US prison population is African American.