Tags: Voting Rights | voting prisons

Impacts of Prison Populations on Voting Districts

By    |   Tuesday, 26 May 2015 04:11 PM

The recent rise of prison populations in the U.S. aggravates the increasing issues with voting data and registration within specific districts.

VOTE NOW: Should Convicted Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 2.3 million prisoners were incarcerated in all 50 states combined. According to a study performed by the National Research Council in 2014, the last four decades have shown a quadrupled rate of imprisonment in the U.S. as one out of every 100 adults currently is incarcerated.

The Prison Policy Initiative notes that the Census Bureau currently counts prisoners as residents of the district in which they are incarcerated instead of the district they lived in before their imprisonments. Because census data now is used in redistricting on the local, state, and federal levels, inaccurate data can undermine the democratic systems and institutions dictated by the Constitution.

With this data, some state legislative districts receive significant portions of their population numbers from prisoners who are not actual residents of the district in which they are incarcerated. Because many prisons are built in rural areas of the country, whereas most prison inmates come from urban areas, these rural areas diminish some of the urban areas’ political powers of representation.

TELL US: How Do You Feel About Voting Rights for Convicted Felons?

Gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favor one party or class over another, can become a problem when extra districts are added to a state with the aid of prison population padding, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

These disparate prison population statistics affect voters’ representation in the state and local levels, as well as their ability to make their individual wills within a collective voting body known, according to Demos.org. These skewed data figures also relate to racial and minority issues and demographics in voting considerations when significant members of one class or race are disproportionately represented in a district of which they may or may not be actual residents.

VOTE NOW: Do You Think Convicted Felons Should Be Allowed to Vote?

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The recent rise of prison populations in the U.S. aggravates the increasing issues with voting data and registration within specific districts.
voting prisons
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2015-11-26
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 04:11 PM
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