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Former inmates' votes

Published October 6, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I appreciate Brooke Adams' "Utah lenient when it comes to former prisoners voting" (Tribune Sept. 28). At the Disability Law Center, where I am the voting access program director, it is our job to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, including individuals on probation and parole.

Over the past six weeks, we have conducted voting rights presentations across Utah and helped people register to vote.

A frequent misperception is that individuals with felony convictions cannot vote. We addressed this myth head-on at the Department of Corrections' four halfway houses. Each time we asked, "Can you vote in Utah if you are on probation or parole," the answer was "No."

When we informed them that voting rights can be restored when an individual is no longer incarcerated, there was an initial sense of disbelief, followed by an eagerness to register to vote.

The Disability Law Center values any effort ensuring that individuals with disabilities from all walks of life have access to information about their rights. We applaud The Tribune's in-depth coverage of this issue.

Sheri Newton

Salt Lake City