Resource: Muntaqim v. Coombe et al. (Challenging Felon Disenfranchisement Through the Voting Rights Act)

By: ACLU of New York

May 4, 2006

ACLU of New York

Among the many issues raised in this case is whether Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act can be constitutionally applied to New York State’s felon disenfranchisement statute. Jalil Abdul Muntaqim is a black inmate at the Ahawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York who is currently serving a sentence of life imprisonment. On Sept. 26, 1994, Muntaqim filed a pro se complaint against several officials of the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Citing the vastly disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic inmates in the state prison system, the complaint alleged that New York State’s felon disenfranchisement statute violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it "results in a denial or abridgement of the right…to vote on account of race." 42 U.S.C. § 1973(a).