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Debate: Ex-felon right to vote

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*'''[[Argument: Depriving ex-felons the right to vote is generally undemocratic| Depriving ex-felons the right to vote is generally undemocratic]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9785-2004Aug17.html Kevin Krajick. "Why Can't Ex-Felons Vote?". Washington Post. August 18, 2004] - "To condemn millions to eternal political silence is to stab our democracy in the heart, and to provide cause for bitterness and alienation. Felons may face many other disabilities: They cannot sit on juries, serve as teachers, firefighters or -- often -- even barbers or plumbers. They cannot receive food stamps or live in public housing. Add to all this the knowledge that whatever they do, no matter how much they have changed, their voices will never be heard in the public arena." *'''[[Argument: Depriving ex-felons the right to vote is generally undemocratic| Depriving ex-felons the right to vote is generally undemocratic]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9785-2004Aug17.html Kevin Krajick. "Why Can't Ex-Felons Vote?". Washington Post. August 18, 2004] - "To condemn millions to eternal political silence is to stab our democracy in the heart, and to provide cause for bitterness and alienation. Felons may face many other disabilities: They cannot sit on juries, serve as teachers, firefighters or -- often -- even barbers or plumbers. They cannot receive food stamps or live in public housing. Add to all this the knowledge that whatever they do, no matter how much they have changed, their voices will never be heard in the public arena."
-*'''Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote alienates certain minorities''' Ex-felons are disproportionately African American. A statistical study conducted in 2001 by Uggen and Manza found that 7 percent of African Americans in the United States were subjected to felony disenfranchisement laws, compared to 1 percent of all other racial groups. Therefore, laws preventing them from voting are intrinsically unfair.+*'''Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote alienates certain minorities''' Ex-felons are disproportionately African American. A statistical study conducted in 2001 by Uggen and Manza found that 7 percent of African Americans in the United States were subjected tofelony disenfranchisement laws, compared to 1 percent of all other racial groups. Therefore, laws preventing them from voting are intrinsically unfair.
*'''Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote gives an unfair advantage to the Republican party''' This is because the poor and African Americans tend to vote Democratic. It is no surprise that most of the felon disenfranchisement laws were sponsored by Republicans. In fact, in 2003, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors told the Washington Post: "As frank as I can be, we're opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don't tend to vote Republican." A study by Uggen and Manza found that, if felons had been allowed to vote in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have won the vote in this state.1 *'''Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote gives an unfair advantage to the Republican party''' This is because the poor and African Americans tend to vote Democratic. It is no surprise that most of the felon disenfranchisement laws were sponsored by Republicans. In fact, in 2003, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors told the Washington Post: "As frank as I can be, we're opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don't tend to vote Republican." A study by Uggen and Manza found that, if felons had been allowed to vote in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have won the vote in this state.1
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*'''Other democratic countries do not disenfranchise ex-felons.''' *'''Other democratic countries do not disenfranchise ex-felons.'''
--------------------------------- ---------------------------------
-1. In 2007, Governor Crist, a Republican, restored the right to vote to Florida felons. "Meeting in a special session, the Florida Clemency Board agreed by a 3-1 vote to allow some 950,000 ex-felons to automatically have their civil rights restored, removing a barrier that goes back 140 years." +1. [http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSHAR56233720070405?feedType=RSS "Florida governor wins voting rights for ex-felons". Reuters. April 5, 2007] In 2007, Governor Crist, a Republican, restored the right to vote to Florida felons. "Meeting in a special session, the Florida Clemency Board agreed by a 3-1 vote to allow some 950,000 ex-felons to automatically have their civil rights restored, removing a barrier that goes back 140 years."

Revision as of 12:51, 17 May 2008

Should ex-felons have the right to vote?

Contents

Background and Context of the debate

In some states, ex-felons, that is people who have served their entire sentence and, thus, theoretically, have paid their debt to society, do not have the right to vote.

Should ex-felon's have the right to vote?

Yes

  • Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote alienates certain minorities Ex-felons are disproportionately African American. A statistical study conducted in 2001 by Uggen and Manza found that 7 percent of African Americans in the United States were subjected tofelony disenfranchisement laws, compared to 1 percent of all other racial groups. Therefore, laws preventing them from voting are intrinsically unfair.
  • Depriving ex-felons of the right to vote gives an unfair advantage to the Republican party This is because the poor and African Americans tend to vote Democratic. It is no surprise that most of the felon disenfranchisement laws were sponsored by Republicans. In fact, in 2003, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors told the Washington Post: "As frank as I can be, we're opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don't tend to vote Republican." A study by Uggen and Manza found that, if felons had been allowed to vote in Florida in 2000, Al Gore would have won the vote in this state.1
  • Disenfranchisement of ex-felons amounts to an extrajudicial punishment. Once they have completed their sentence and are no longer in prison, or on probation or parole, ex-felons have paid their debt to society, as determined by a judge.
  • Disenfranchisement does not deter ex-felons from committing new crimes. It merely indicates that "they can never be full citizens again." "Nearer to Overcoming". The Economist. May 10-16, 2008, p. 35.
  • Other democratic countries do not disenfranchise ex-felons.

1. "Florida governor wins voting rights for ex-felons". Reuters. April 5, 2007 In 2007, Governor Crist, a Republican, restored the right to vote to Florida felons. "Meeting in a special session, the Florida Clemency Board agreed by a 3-1 vote to allow some 950,000 ex-felons to automatically have their civil rights restored, removing a barrier that goes back 140 years."




No

  • By committing a very serious crime, ex-felons demonstrate a disrespect for the law. Therefore, they should have no input in determining who writes these laws.



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Yes

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No

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Pro/con bibliography

Yes

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  • Krajick, Kevin. "Why Can't Ex-Felons Vote?"The Washington Post 18 Aug. 2003

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9785-2004Aug17.html>.

  • "Nearer to Overcoming." The Economist.May 10-16, 2008.
  • Petersilia, Joan. When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Uggan, Christopher, and Jeff Manza. 2001. "The Political Consequences of Felon Disenfranchisement Law in the United States." Washington, D.C.: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Washington, D.C. 12-14 August.




No

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