PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION SUPPORTING ENACTMENT OF HOUSE BILL NO. 1086, PRINTER’S NO. 1232, CONCERNING DISENFRANCHISEMENT

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act, Act of June 30, 1995, PL 170, No. 25, § 501, removes the right to register to vote for those persons convicted of felonies for a period of five years after their release from prison; and

WHEREAS, House Bill No. 1086, Printer’s No. 1232, now pending before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee, would repeal Section 501 of the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act of 1995; and

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act of 1995 to encourage voter registration in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, Mark Mauer, of the Sentencing Project, has testified before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee that approximately 50,000 otherwise eligible voters are affected by this prohibition; and

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act of 1995 has a dramatic disproportionate racial impact, as the majority of individuals disenfranchised are people of color; and

WHEREAS, minority participation in the jury process, which is derived from voter registration records, is eroded by Section 501 of the Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act of 1995; and

WHEREAS, there are four times as many people in our Commonwealth’s prisons and jails as in 1982;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports legislation, such as House Bill No. 1086, Printer’s No. 1232, which will repeal Sec. 501 of the Motor Voter Registration Act of 1995 and otherwise encourage those citizens who have been released from incarceration and who have reentered society to vote; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor to take all necessary steps regarding this Association's support for this legislation.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: APRIL 27, 2000