This November, many of us will stand in line to cast our vote in the presidential election while other Americans will be denied that right due to felony convictions. These fellow citizens, numbering in the millions, are barred from exercising the right to vote and little information is offered to them regarding reinstating that right of citizenship.
Thistle Farms Residential graduate, Rachel (above center) is no longer one of those citizens. She joins Chelle and a handful of other brave Thistle Farms graduates who have worked to restore their fundamental right to be heard.
“Dealing with my disenfranchisement has been hanging over my head since I got out of prison five years ago. It has been this huge weird obstacle, and even beginning the process of getting my voting rights back was intimidating.
Through contacts at Thistle Farms I started hearing that it was possible, and that I would just have to take certain steps. I took those steps this past weekend! I attended a voting clinic and they approved me to get my voting rights restored and then helped me register to vote! I was out of there in an hour and now I’m waiting for my voters card to come in the mail.
Restoring my voting rights means that I am a full citizen of my community. What this does for my spirit, my self esteem, my confidence, my soul, is so deeply personal. It proves that I am a survivor, that I have overcome great obstacles. It helps me to love me a little more today. I had a journey of turmoil and trauma and then I picked myself up and dusted the dirt off and said ‘I can do this!’ And then I did it.”
Congratulations, Rachel. See you at the polls!
The Restore Your Vote Campaign restores voting rights to people with past convictions by providing direct rights restoration services, empowering community leaders to understand rights restoration laws, and breaking down the false notion that a felony conviction always means you cannot vote. Find out more here.