Making voting easier for previously incarcerated people
People rarely vote after being incarcerated. Associate Professor Ariel White wonders what can be done about it.
Ariel White; photo by Stuart Darsch
“I got sick of writing the ‘this is a problem’ papers. I wanted to see what could be done about it.”
— Ariel White, associate professor of political science
In March 2020, 83,000 New Jersey residents who had been ineligible to vote became eligible when a new law took effect restoring voting rights for people on parole or probation who had previously been convicted of felonies.
Ariel White, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Political Science and an MIT Governance Lab faculty associate, is one of several researchers working with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) to inform these people of their eligibility.
NJISJ spearheaded the effort to get the law passed, and worked throughout 2020 to register people to vote before the presidential election. Now, White and her colleagues are gathering more information about the barriers making it more difficult for previously incarcerated people to vote, as well as what messaging might convince people to register.