The Ghosts of the 2023 Elections
Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia are selecting their state officials on Nov. 7. But hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions are barred from voting in these states, which have some of the nation’s harshest disenfranchisement laws—even Kentucky, despite a 2019 reform restoring the rights of many.
For this series, Bolts reporter Alex Burness reported throughout 2023 on the people who’ve been blocked from the franchise in each of these three states—and how they are fighting back.
“Every time you’re at the polls in Mississippi,” one advocate told him, “there are ghosts standing behind you that should be there, but for the race-based hitching of the criminal legal system to the power of the vote.”
These are their stories: