Those awaiting trial, serving misdemeanor sentences need easier access to voting, advocates say

Voting rights advocates are trying to make it easier for people behind bars to vote.

They say they want to make sure the tens of thousands of people being held until they stand trial have not lost their basic American right to cast a ballot.

While people universally lose their voting rights while serving sentences for felony convictions, detainees awaiting trial or serving misdemeanor sentences still have the right to vote, but they face multiple barriers to exercising that right in many parts of the country,

"It's literally identical to when you're voting at your local school or local community center. You go into a booth by yourself. There's no one near you. After you're done, your ballot goes in an envelope. The envelope is handed to a person who works for the clerk's office, who then puts it in the tabulating machine. There's no way for people to know how you're voting," Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart, said.

Advocates say finding ways to get inmates to rethink their place in the world and inspire them to change is a constant challenge.

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