After Florida passed a referendum this election cycle restoring voting rights to people who completed their felony sentence, Mississippi is now the state with the highest rate of disenfranchised residents, The Appeal reported Thursday.

In 2016, the Sentencing Project reported that about 10 percent of Mississippians are disenfranchised, which at the time was second only to Florida.

Almost every state disqualifies felons from voting for at least the person’s time in prison, but Mississippi is one of only 12 states that withhold voting rights from a felon after they’ve served their sentence and completed probation.

Sixty-one percent of those who have lost their right to vote are African-American, despite the fact that African Americans represent 36 percent of the state’s total voting-age population, a Mississippi Today analysis found.

Mississippi Today also reported earlier this month that some Mississippians do not vote because of misconceptions about which crimes are disenfranchising.

In October, state legislators held a hearing to discuss the lifetime ban.

Click here for the full story by The Appeal.


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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on NBC.com. In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.