(October 6, 2014) – Working to ensure that everyone has a chance to vote in the upcoming November election, the Detroit Branch NAACP conducted a registration drive in the three Wayne County Jails. During the ten day outreach, an estimated 300 voters were registered among the three facilities to help those in temporary custody register before the October 6th deadline.
“Because a person is in custody does not mean they’ve relinquished their voting rights,” said Wayne County Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon. “Many of those registered will participate as first-time voters. Getting them to vote shows them that they have a vested interest in the process and that their say counts.”
Following a background check, the person working with the NAACP to register voters was issued a temporary security clearance and escorted by a Sheriff’s officer during the registration process. Simone Lightfoot, Voter Empowerment Coordinator for Detroit Branch NAACP, said those sentenced to jail time or serving time on the day of the election are ineligible to vote. However, those released from jail or awaiting trial are eligible.
Increasing access to the election ballot has been a major emphasis of the NAACP nationwide since 2000, Lightfoot said. She said the NAACP has previously registered voters in Wayne County Jails with full support from Sheriff Napoleon.
“Incarceration don’t stop voter participation,” said Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony.