My First Vote, a new publication from the Brennan Center for Justice, is a compilation of stories from people across the country who voted for the first time in November 2008 after having lost, and then regained, their right to vote following a criminal conviction.
Here's an excerpt:
I’ve been battling substance abuse for thirty years and have been in and out of prison all of my life. But I’ve been out, and clean, for more than four years. My life has completely changed. And on November 4th, with millions of Americans, I had a say about what happens in our country. There were tears in my eyes as I waited to vote. I felt like I was finally a productive member of society. I’ve never before felt like I could make a difference in terms of what happens around me. But I walked out of the polling place on Election Day feeling like I mattered, that I made a difference. I realized how far I’ve come. Amazing. -Linda Steele, New York, NY