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In “Boston’s voter self-suppression” (Metro, Sept. 16), columnist Yvonne Abraham writes, “It’s easier than ever to vote in Massachusetts.” That may be true for some groups, especially high-propensity, generally white, affluent voting groups that take advantage of mail-in balloting. But for the 7,000 to 9,000 disproportionately Black and Hispanic eligible voters incarcerated across the Commonwealth, that could not be further from reality.

Eligible incarcerated voters — those serving misdemeanor convictions or detained pretrial — face insurmountable barriers to casting a ballot. The jail-based voting bill, filed in the Legislature by Representatives Chynah Tyler and Liz Miranda and Senator Adam Hinds and supported by organizers who have been affected by de facto disenfranchisement, would fix that.


The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Joint Committee on Election Laws. Yet the Legislature is poised to move forward on another election reform bill that, if passed, would probably be the only election reform bill passed this session.

The struggle for voting access in Massachusetts must invest resources in dismantling remaining barriers to voting, especially those that affect Black and Hispanic communities. We will not actualize participation across communities and in down-ballot and municipal races otherwise.

Kristina Mensik

National campaigns director

The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls