Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Polling Shows 71 Percent Support for Federal ‘Clean Slate’ Record-Clearing Legislation
Press Release

RELEASE: New Polling Shows 71 Percent Support for Federal ‘Clean Slate’ Record-Clearing Legislation

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released new national polling showing widespread bipartisan support for the Clean Slate Act, federal legislation to automatically seal federal marijuana and other nonviolent drug offenses, once an individual has completed their sentence. GBAO Strategies conducted a nationally representative survey of registered voters in late April. The key findings include:

  • 71 percent of respondents support the legislation; 37 percent strongly support.
  • Support for the bill transcends gender, race, age, and partisan identification.
  • 80 percent of Democrats support the bill.
  • 62 percent of Republicans support the bill.
  • A majority of voters—51 percent—say that they would be more likely to support a candidate who supports clean slate legislation.

The bipartisan Clean Slate Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in April by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). The federal bill comes after Pennsylvania and Utah passed their own clean slate laws to automatically clear state records within the last year. State-level clean slate legislation has also been introduced in California and Connecticut. Momentum for automated record-clearing has grown as awareness has increased regarding how few people eligible for record-clearing ever successfully clear their records.

“I’m not surprised at all to see these levels of support for automatic record-clearing across party and demographic lines,” said Rebecca Vallas, vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “We live in a country in which 1 in 3 people now has a criminal record. People from all walks of life understand that a criminal record, no matter how old or minor, can be a barrier to jobs, housing, and education—and can ultimately be a life sentence to poverty. The Center for American Progress applauds Reps. Blunt Rochester and Reschenthaler for their leadership in taking automated record-clearing to the federal level.”

FreedomWorks is also a supporter of the legislation. Jason Pye, the organization’s vice president of legislative affairs, added: “The Clean Slate Act offers a streamlined path forward for certain individuals who have come into contact with the criminal justice system to have their records sealed so that they may gain employment, secure a place to live, or pursue educational opportunities. These are simple necessities of life that one mistake may impede if we do not provide reasonable chances for a clean slate. FreedomWorks is proud to partner with Rep. Blunt Rochester, Rep. Reschenthaler, and the Center for American Progress on the Clean Slate Act. We urge members, Democrat and Republican alike, to co-sponsor this bill.”

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For more information or speak to an expert, Julia Cusick at [email protected] or 202-495-3682.