Unlock Civics Policy Platform

The year 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many things. The perilous conditions people in prison endure and the role exclusion from our democratic processes play in exacerbating such conditions are among them. Lack of quality judicial training, the abolishment of a parole system, and the disenfranchisement of people in prison have all contributed to the crisis occurring in Illinois prisons. People are serving extreme sentences–without the opportunity for early release–and unable to hold elected officials accountable to hearing and addressing their needs. Given the impact of COVID-19 on individuals experiencing incarceration, the need to restore the right to vote to people in prisons and ensure people impacted by the legal system have access to all their civic rights and responsibilities is even more urgent.

Chicago Votes’ #UnlockCivics legislative platform works at the intersection of organizing and advocacy to ensure that people affected by the American legal system have access to their civic rights and responsibilities.

2021 Veto Session Policy

Voting in Prison: SB 828

The Illinois Constitution states that a person in prison “shall lose the right to vote, which right shall be restored not later than upon completion of his sentence.” The exact length of disenfranchisement is not specified. SB828 restores the right to vote for voters post-conviction.