Series: Target 2020

Justice is on the Ballot

We elect federal leaders, district attorneys, mayors, local legislators, and sheriffs—people who shape how our communities ensure public safety and secure justice.
Nicholas Turner President & Director
Sep 22, 2020

As voters, we have the power and responsibility to shape how justice is served in our communities. We elect federal leaders, district attorneys, mayors, local legislators, and sheriffs—leaders who shape how our communities ensure public safety and secure justice.

Election Day is in six weeks, but in communities across the United States, voting for the 2020 election is already underway.

In every race, from the federal to the state to the local level, it’s clear: Justice is on the ballot.

Our votes can help ensure due process for immigrants facing deportation, address overpolicing in communities of color and police violence by holding elected officials and law enforcement accountable, and expand educational opportunities for people in prison.

Our votes—and our voices—can demand an end to money injustice, practices that criminalize poverty through bail, fines, and fees. They can call for transformational change in the conditions of confinement behind bars and for leaders to invest in communities, rather than fuel the growth of rural jail populations.

More than six months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, voters can call for swift action to stop the spread of coronavirus in jails and prisons—where there are more than 200,000 cases and at least 1,175 known deaths—which leads directly to community spread. In fact, the 10 largest outbreak sites in the United States are in correctional facilities.

Justice is on the ballot. And there has never been a more important time to vote.

Millions of Americans have faced barriers based on race, gender, and conviction history. Far too many barriers still stand in the way.

In 2016, 6.1 million Americans nationwide could not vote in the presidential election because of felony convictions. One in 13 Black Americans was ineligible to vote in 2019 because of a criminal record, compared to one in 56 Americans of all other races combined.

Just this month, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Floridians with conviction histories cannot vote unless they pay court fines and fees, which many cannot afford.

But across the country, we’re seeing signs of progress:

  • From Louisiana to Nevada, leaders have taken action in recent years to restore the right to vote for tens of thousands of voters and undo the harms of America’s addiction to incarceration.
  • In July 2020, the House of Representatives voted to lift the ban on Pell Grants for people in prison. Now, voters are calling on the Senate and the White House to act.
  • Responding to calls for action, the city of Albuquerque created a civilian department to respond to 911 calls related to homelessness, addiction, mental health, and other issues that do not present an immediate threat to public safety.

There is so much work to do.

Commit to vote.

Make a plan to vote.

Register to vote.

Justice is on the ballot.