Going to jail does not automatically mean you are not eligible to vote, but a large number of inmates are not aware of this. That is why Chicago Votes, a non-profit that is a “non-partisian organization building a more inclusive democracy by putting power in the hands of young Chicagoans”, headed over to Chicago’s Cook County jail to register inmates to vote.
“They love every time we come in here, they love being able to register to vote, they love talking about the idea of voting, talking about what they want to see change in their community,” said Stevie Valles, Executive Director of Chicago Votes. “Everybody here is very socially conscious because they are living in the worst communities not only in Chicago but some of the worst communities in the United States of America.”
Rhonda Norwood, 19, said she had no idea she could vote. pic.twitter.com/1D2NcVsYfq
— Sam Levine (@srl) August 2, 2018
Although Chicago has a population that is 31% Black and 44% White, Cook County Jail is 74% Black and only 10% White. That means, people of color, more specifically black people, will stand to benefit the most from the efforts to get eligible inmates registered to vote.
Inmates still in jail awaiting their trials are legally allowed to vote in the State of Illinois. That means about 20,000 people who are detained in jail pre-trial in Illinois can cast their ballots from jail.
Watch HuffPost’s short video on this matter here.