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Cleveland, OH – This fall, Cleveland City Council is partnering with the Education and Advocacy Community Participation Committee (EACP) to help educate citizens about exercising their right to vote, even if they have been involved with the criminal justice system.

The disenfranchisement of ex-offenders is a tradition that dates back to Jim Crow and still infiltrates American policies today. Disenfranchisement is the practice of prohibiting people from voting based on the fact that they have been convicted of a felony or other criminal offense.

According to the Sentencing Project, approximately 1 of every 40 adults in the United States is disenfranchised due to a current or previous felony conviction. This means 5.85 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of “felon disenfranchisement,” or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes.

In Ohio, unlike many other states, once individuals are released from prison their right to vote is restored.  However, there are a number of steps they must take to exercise their right, including re-registering to vote.

Residents and those convicted of felony-level crimes are encouraged to attend the voter education forum on September 25 to learn more on the voting process and upcoming general election.

What:  Voter Education Forum

When: 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where: Faith Temple Church of God, 7035 Lexington Ave. in Cleveland

This event will feature a team of experts that will cover: the voting process, understanding the different types of elections and their importance, voter disenfranchisement, how to vote by mail and voting locations, as well as how to educate one’s self about the issues on the ballot.

This program is hosted by the ACLU of Ohio, Greater Cleveland Reentry Strategy – EACP Committee, Cleveland City Council, Nonprofit Vote, Towards Employment, Ohio Reentry Advocacy Coalition and Oriana House, Inc.  For more information on EACP, call 216-443-8256

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