Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote? Essay

794 WordsApr 21, 20124 Pages
Should Felons be Allowed to Vote? About 5.26 million people with a felony conviction are not allowed to vote in elections. Each state has its own laws on disenfranchisement. Nine states in America permanently restrict felons from voting while Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison. Proponents of felon re-enfranchisement believe felons who have paid their debt to society by completing their sentences should have all of their rights and privileges restored. They argue that efforts to block ex-felons from voting are unfair, undemocratic, and politically or racially motivated. Opponents of felon voting say the restrictions are consistent with other voting limitations such as age, residency, mental capacity, and other felon…show more content…
If we thought that prisoners could not be rehabilitated, then they should not be released. If felons are released, we make a judgment that they are fit to live in society; therefore, they are capable of making trustworthy decisions. Moreover, not allowing felons to vote is a violation of the US Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the United States. Section Two of the Voting Act contains a general prohibition on voting discrimination. Furthermore, Congress amended this section to prohibit any voting practice or procedure that has a discriminatory result or prohibits a group of people from voting. New York is one state that restricts felony voting. In the New York Election Law 5-106, it clearly disqualifies a group of people, incarcerated felons and felons on parole, from voting in elections. This is a blatant violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Further, prohibiting felons from voting is a violation of the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution. The eighth amendment prohibits excessive penalties and demands that the punishment fits the crime. As a result, states that exclude felons from voting permanently, including Alabama,
Open Document