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Should felons be allowed to vote?

According to the Sentencing Project, an estimated 6.1 million Americans have lost their voting rights because of felony disenfranchisement laws as of 2016. Lawmakers are divided about its implications: what constitutes human rights and what justifies taking them away, especially given a justice system that disproportionately imprisons minorities and the poor?

Felons should be allowed to vote once they have served their sentence

Once a sentence has been served, felons should not have to be continually punished. All of their rights should be reinstated.

Felons have paid their debt to society

By serving their sentence, felons have repaid their debt to society. Disenfranchisement means they are continually punished.

No taxation without representation

Felons still have to pay taxes once they are gainfully employed, so they should be able to represent themselves through voting.

Felons should never be allowed to vote

Felons have displayed disrespect for society. Because of this, they should permanently lose their right to choose who governs it.

Voting is a privilege

The Constitution frames voting as a privilege, not a right. By breaking the law, felons have proven that they do not deserve this privilege.

Felons should not have a say in society

Felons should not be able to dictate the future of a community they have harmed.

Felons have not proven that they should be allowed to vote

By breaking the law, felons have proven that they should not have the right to vote. Felons should be required to exhibit good moral character before regaining their voting rights.

Felons should be able to vote even while in prison

All citizens should have the right to vote regardless of their circumstances.

The criminal justice system targets minorities

Felons are disproportionately comprised of minorities, particularly African-American men. Felony disenfranchisement is thus a legal means of suppressing their votes.

Felons are still citizens

Although they are incarcerated, felons are still citizens of the United States. As citizens, they are entitled to voting rights. We should not take their rights away because of their incarceration.

Voting is a right

All citizens have the right to vote. We should not deprive anyone, even prisoners, of this right, because it is fundamental to democracy. Disenfranchising certain people gives the government more room to deprive others of voting rights.

Some felons should retain their voting rights

If a felon has not committed a major crime involving a human rights violation, they should be able to vote.

Felons who have not committed egregious crimes should be able to vote

If a person has not grievously violated someone else's rights, they should retain their right to vote. Disenfranchising people for minor felonies is excessive.

We should leave this decision up to each state

The Constitution leaves decisions about elections and voting regulations up to the states, so trying to reach a universal consensus on this issue is pointless.

States should make decisions about felony disenfranchisement independently

We should not try to arrive at a universal decision regarding voting laws or felony disenfranchisement because the Constitution originally left this decision up to the states.

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 at 17:52 UTC