The Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections has registered nearly 300 people to vote this election cycle. The District of Columbia is one of only three regions in the United States of America that allows incarcerated residents to vote.
“You feel like a kid on Christmas Day and you unwrap the gift and now you’re eager to know what’s inside,” 44-year-old Joel Caston said.
Caston was arrested for murder as a teenager nearly 30 years ago. At one point, he did not think he would ever be able to vote. During the go around, he was more excited than ever to exercise his right to vote.
“Being able to vote, for me and many of us, is a pathway to citizenship. Full citizenship,” Caston.
Prior to July, incarcerated people in the nation’s capital did not have the right to vote. A newly passed law places the city alongside Maine and Vermont as the only places where incarcerated people are able to vote. It is also the only predominantly non-white area that allows incarcerated people to vote.
“There were individuals that had been in the (federal prison system) and came back, so for them, a lot of this was foreign information,” Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth said.
“They needed to get the information because their belief was that they were not eligible to vote.”