Hip Hop Caucus Launches New Voting Tool to Aid Returning Citizens’ Access to the Ballot Box

New Voting Tool To Provide Easier Access To Information On Voter Eligibility Launches On National Voter Registration Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 28 – Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote campaign launched today, a new voting tool geared towards helping returning citizens and those on parole find out if they are eligible to vote.

This tool is the first of its kind to provide timely, up-to-date information that is updated in real time in accordance with changes to the laws. The voting tool allows users to enter their personal, but not traceable or recorded, information in order to determine if their specific circumstances allow them to vote. It offers the most impressive and comprehensive granularity of data of existing voter eligibility resources, and includes all U.S. States and territories. 

“Access to the ballot, and more specifically equal access to the ballot for all people, is a key value in American democracy,” Rev Yearwood, president and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus said. “Returning citizens are a heavily disenfranchised demographic of voters, largely because many assume their status deems them ineligible to vote. This lack of continuity in laws between states, as well as frequent changes, is a natural cause of confusion. We, along with our partners, seek to use his new tool to aid returning citizen’s access to the ballot box.”

A number of Americans have unfortunately lost their right to vote because of a past felony conviction. However, just because an individual has a felony conviction, it does not necessarily mean that they are unable to vote in most states. This new voting tool aims to tackle that problem and inform individuals by aggregating laws on voting rights for all states in one place that walks each user through their potential eligibility and resources to sign up. If the user is not in fact eligible to vote, the tool will outline and explain exactly why that is the case.

The release of the new online voting tool will streamline eligibility requirements of formerly incarcerated people and those on parole as many states have created a dense and often confusing patchwork of voter eligibility laws. For example, Connecticut, New York and Washington recently passed laws restoring voting rights to citizens on parole; while New Jersey restores the right to vote to people with a felony conviction upon their release from prison. However, in the battleground state of Florida, people with certain felony convictions can vote after the completion of their sentences. 

The tool is available to embed on the websites of organizations mobilizing the vote in upcoming elections. Other organizations that have agreed to offer the tool to their membership include: U.S. Vote Foundation, Rock the Vote, National Black Justice Coalition, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

About Hip Hop Caucus 

Formed in 2004, the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that leverages Hip Hop culture to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process. Through a collaborative leadership network, HHC addresses core issues affecting underserved communities. HHC programs and campaigns support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders.