Ysterday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), The Sentencing Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), filed an amicus brief in a Louisiana appellate court in support of plaintiffs-appellants, who are challenging Louisiana’s felony disenfranchisement policy. More than 71,000 Louisianans under probation or parole supervision are prohibited from voting, disproportionately harming Black Louisianans.
The amicus brief provides historical context for the racial discrimination inherent in felony disfranchisement laws, including Louisiana’s, and explains the present-day impact of such laws, on the Black community in Louisiana, particularly.
Louisiana has the country’s highest incarceration rate, imprisoning a greater share of its citizens than any other state. Compounding this reality, from arrest to incarceration, Black Louisianans are disproportionately represented at every level of the state’s criminal justice system. Because of these racial disparities, Black people, who account for 32 percent of the state population, make up 63 percent of individuals who have lost their voting rights through the state’s disenfranchisement law. At issue in the lawsuit, Vote v. Louisiana, is a group of those disenfranchised, disproportionately Black individuals, on parole and probation and seeking to be full citizens in their communities.