In September, members of the League of Women Voters visited Delaney Hall Residential Reentry Center in Newark to assist parolees in registering to vote for the upcoming election. The event coincided with National Voter Registration Day, a day in which citizens are urged to register to vote for this year’s elections. Approximately 20 parolees completed the registration forms, celebrating the new law that took effect in New Jersey allowing persons on probation and parole to vote. After registering, parolees proudly displayed their “I Registered to Vote” stickers.
The Delaney Hall registration event was such a success that GEO Reentry staff invited the representatives from the League of Women Voters to return, this time to assist pre-adjudicated Essex County residents to register. This led to 49 Essex County residents, including six women and 43 men, in registering to vote. Participants eagerly filed into the lecture hall during the two-hour registration period, completed their registration forms, and also proudly displayed their “I Registered to Vote” stickers.
The trend to restore voting rights to those with criminal histories has expanded nationwide, as advocates see the voting process as an important milestone in bringing former offenders into the civic process of voting. As residents were congratulated for taking this necessary step toward performing their civic duties to vote, smiles were evident even under the face masks at both N.J. events.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill that went into effect in 2020 to restore the right to vote for N.J. residents on parole and probation. This law reestablishes the right to vote for more than 83,000 individuals. New Jersey joins several other states in expanding voting rights for individuals convicted of a crime.
The Delaney Hall Residential Reentry Center provides transitional housing, treatment services and links to important reentry services in the community for individuals formerly incarcerated.