After becoming eligible to register on March 1, local activist Checo Yancy along with others will vote for the first time Monday.
On March 1, approximately 40,000 Louisiana citizens on probation and parole regained their right to vote under Act 636. The law was made possible by members of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), who advocated for the passage of House Bill 265 at the State Capitol during the 2018 legislative session. The majority of these activists were people who are directly impacted by felony disenfranchisement. Thus, come March 1, when Act 636 goes into effect, they will be able to register to vote.
Yancy, who directs Voters Organized to Educate (VOTE), registered the first day he could. “Now, I’ll be able to elect people who actually have my best interests in mind,” he says. He’ll also be taking advantage of the early voting period for Louisiana’s upcoming Oct. 12 primary election.
“We have come from out of prison to do all this, and we are doing it,” said Yancy.
For him and thousands of others, it has not been an easy race to the finish line of the ballot box. People who have a conviction have to go through extra steps in the registration process. This includes getting paperwork from their local probation and parole office, even if they have finished their probation or parole time five, 10, or 20 years ago. For those living in rural Louisiana, the nearest office is a half-day’s drive away. Due in large part to the employment barriers that formerly incarcerated people, many cannot afford to buy a car or hire transportation to obtain that paperwork.
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