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Lifers Vote in General Election

The Lifers' Group, Inc. of Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk, succeeded in providing all of the nearly 1,300 prisoners there the opportunity to register and vote in the 1993 November General Election. The group's leaders presented a petition to the Norfolk Town Clerk with the requisite number of certifiable signatures in compliance with state registration law, permitting the prisoners to be considered registered voters rather than absentee voters.

While prisoners in Massachusetts have been able to vote in past elections, their votes were not cast as registered voters. Rather, the voters were treated as absentee votes from the cities or towns where the prisoners had lived before incarceration. Votes cast in this manner, it was discovered, were placed in escrow and not counted.

Through the Lifers' work, prisoners now are able to cast votes and have their votes count just as any registered voter on the outside. In the future, a representative of the Town Clerk's office will enter the prison and register every prisoner who wishes to exercise his right to vote.

[Taken from the Fall 1993 Life Lines, the newsletter of the Life-Long CURE]

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