Norton, Pingree and Welch Introduce Bill to Require Federal Bureau of Prisons to Provide Eligible Inmates Information on Voting

Jul 13, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced a bill today to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide inmates from jurisdictions that allow inmates to vote, like the District of Columbia, Maine, and Vermont, information on how to register to vote and request absentee ballots.

“It is imperative that, in accordance with laws of the jurisdictions in which they live, these inmates, like our own from the District of Columbia, be given the full range of voting information available,” Norton said. “This bill would codify what the BOP apparently did in the 2020 election – by providing inmates with information on voter registration and how to request absentee ballots. While this appears to have been successfully done in 2020, it is important that we introduce this bill to make these important policies permanent. Thank you to Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Welch for co-leading this important bill.”

“Maine is only one of three states or territories that allows everyone to vote in our elections, including incarcerated people, and our democracy is stronger for it,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). “Today, I’m proud to join Congresswoman Norton and my colleagues from Maine and Vermont on a bill that would provide people in prison with information on how they can register and vote absentee. Putting up barriers for anyone to engage in civic life is undemocratic and I am hopeful that with this bill we will open up more pathways to the ballot box.”

“Vermont has always led the way in increasing voter access to the ballot box,” Congressman Welch said. “Since its founding, Vermont has allowed incarcerated people to vote. Vermonters believe our democracy is stronger when we make voting easier and more people have a voice. I’m excited to join this bill, which would ensure that incarcerated Vermont residents are provided with the information they need to exercise their right to vote.”