Black Women & Voter Suppression
58 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2022
Date Written: August 31, 2022
Black women vote at consistently high rates during elections in the United States. States, however, have excluded Black women from voting by regulating when a person convicted of a crime may be eligible to vote. These efforts are known as felony disenfranchisement but amount to voter suppression. With the alarming rate of conviction and incarceration of Black women, criminal law intersects with civil rights to bar their involvement in the electoral process.
By reconceptualizing conviction-based voter suppression through the experiences of Black women’s access to their voting rights, this Article adds a new perspective to the rich scholarship analyzing voting rights. This Article examines the history of Black women’s exclusion from the ballot box in the United States, including how the racist legacy of Jim Crow continues through mass incarceration and voter suppression schemes. Using Florida’s disenfranchisement maze as a case study, this Article shows that while Black women and other advocates have led attempts to abolish voter suppression schemes, permanently, they have yet to succeed through the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.
The ostensible reasons for these voter suppression schemes vary, but the outcome has been the devaluing of the interests of Black women and their communities while preserving the voting priorities of white communities. This Article concludes by demanding the dismantling of these voter suppression schemes. Until then, society will continue to bar Black women from the ballot box disproportionally.
Keywords: gender justice, racial justice, voting rights, criminal law, collateral consequences, reentry
JEL Classification: K14, K41, H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation