For Immediate Release
Rachel Talbot Ross
NAACP President CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous to Lead Voter Registration Drive at Maine Correctional Facilities
PORTLAND, Maine - NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will be leading a voter registration and NAACP membership drive in the Maine State Prison and the Bolduc Correctional Facility.
"The goal of the criminal corrections system is to educate, inform and better prepare prisoners for when they come home. Civic engagement is vital to cities, town's states and the nation as a whole. The NAACP is committed to ensuring that every American has the right to vote and the opportunity to vote," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Casting a vote, whether it be for President of the United States, Governor of Maine or for ballot measures is a fundamental right in this country. All too often people who are incarcerated lose their voice, their chance to vote, and their chance to be a part of our electoral process."
Maine and Vermont are the only two states that allow prisoners to cast ballots, a right that has existed since Maine became a state in 1820. The NAACP, in cooperation with the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the political party officials, are working to make sure that prisoners can exercise that right guaranteed under Maine law.
It is not only those behind bars who are barred from voting in most other states. Former prisoners and those on parole are denied the franchise in many states. According to estimates from the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 5 million people are disenfranchised because of their current or previous incarceration. That fact puts America in a minority among Western democracies, which mostly restore voting rights to people who have served their sentences.
WHO: NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous and NAACP Portland Branch
WHAT: Statewide Voter Registration Drive
WHEN: Tuesday, September 29th; 4:00 PM
WHERE: PRESS AVAILABILITY IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING STATE PRISON DRIVE
MAINE STATE PRISON
807 Cushing Road
Warren, ME 04864
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Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.