Indiana, which means “the land of the Indians”, had been a conflicted region after the American Revolution. Five years after, in 1816, Indiana became the 19th states, with Indianapolis as its capital.
Indiana has a rate of incarceration at 751 for every 100,000 residents, which is higher than the national average of 716 for every 100,000. It currently sits at the 18th highest incarceration rates in the United States.
The right to suffrage must be maintained as a fundamental right of felons. In fact, the US Voting Rights Act of 1965 does not contain any provisions on disenfranchisement as a legal sanction.
Can Felons Vote in Indiana?
Indiana is one of the 11 states that permit probationers to vote while denying the same to incarcerated felons. This allows thousands more of votes to influence decisions in the country.
Disenfranchisement is one of the collateral effects of a criminal conviction. However, the state must return this basic civil right to the individual once he has paid his legal sentence, which is what the state of Indiana preferred to follow.
Also, reports indicate that incarceration rates are at its highest in several Indiana counties where the prosecutors are said to enforce state laws differently. In some of these instances, incarceration was a failure in police discretion.
As such, there might be falsely accused and convicted individuals that had been unjustly disenfranchised. The promotion of strict felon voting laws does not help these unfortunate individuals enjoy the power to effect change through their vote.
How Can Felons Restore Voting Rights in Indiana?
Fortunately, Indiana automatically restores the right to suffrage of felons who have completed their legal sentence. However, they must follow a series of steps before they can be allowed to vote.
- Ex-offenders must request for a voter’s registration form and re-register as an eligible voter. Usually, every state’s official Board of Election website has a printable voter’s registration form.
- There is no need for documents indicating one’s date of release from incarceration. The form itself contains an affidavit stating that the state restitutes one’s voting rights
- Since the election official does not have the name of the ex-offender in the official registrant’s list, the voter’s registration form will function as the permit to re-register as a voter
- After accomplishing and signing the form where appropriate, they should mail it to the address of the State of Indiana Election Commission, 302 W Washington St. E204, Indianapolis, USA.