EAST LANSING, Mich. — Malijah Gee was first incarcerated in a Michigan prison when he was about 17 years old.
“I came here as a youth, so I was never able to vote,” Gee said.
After spending 36 years behind bars, Gee is expected to be released early next year, and he says he’s excited to vote for the very first time in the state’s presidential primary in February.
“So now getting out and having that opportunity is a great feeling,” Gee said. “One of the things that we need to do in here is to now start helping prisoners become aware of that particular bill.”
Michigan already allows people with felony convictions to regain their voting rights once they’re out of prison, but now the state will go one step further and expand automatic registration to incarcerated people after they’re released.
The organization Voters not Politicians has been advocating to increase voting rights access for people in Michigan. The group worked closely with the legislature to include people with felonies into the state’s current automatic voter registration system.
“I do think that we need the next part of it to be the education piece,” Voter Not Politicians Director Kim Murphy-Kovalick said.
She says they are working with lawmakers for a bill that would fund programs to educate inmates on their voting rights.
This story was originally published by NPR. Read more here: https://www.npr.org/2023/12/16/1219695211/new-michigan-law-means-people-leaving-prison-will-automatically-be-registered-to