Should ex-felons have the right to vote?
The key for me here is that the convicted felon paid for their crime and served their sentence. I would not support those currently serving time getting to vote while in prison, I consider that just another freedom lost because they choose to violate the rules of our society and the life of someone else (in one way or another).
I would and do support ex-felons, as in those who have served there sentences being allowed to vote. The tricky part here would be those currently on parole. Technically, they are still serving their sentence. I would not have a problem with allowing them to vote, but if not allowing those on parole to vote is what was needed to get those who served their sentences the right to vote, then I say it's a reasonable compromise.
I was REALLY surprised to see that President Bush supported this however.
QUOTE(from the link in the original post)
“America”, the president has said, “is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” So it should.
Or does he? That seems rather cryptic. The author of the Article seems to think President Bush supports ex-felons being allowed to vote. So I looked around and found this:
QUOTE( from righttovote.org)
In 1997, as governor of Texas, the president signed a bill eliminating a requirement that felons wait two years after completing their sentences to vote again. source
Actions speak louder then words in my book, so it appears President Bush does support allowing ex-Felons to vote. Huh, you think you know a guy.
I have to admit that I am also curious as to the origins of felon disenfranchisement.
Not a complete answer for you, but this covers the reasoning behind it. There is logic to it, though I happen to disagree with the idea. If we are going to say that committing this crime requires this penalty, then when that penalty is completed the debt should be paid and they should have a second chance at getting it right.
Those who violate the rights of others have proven that they want the benefits of society without the burden of obeying its laws. Such free riders can hardly complain when a majority of their fellow citizens denies them the right to choose those who make the laws. Perhaps for that reason, 30 years ago this summer the Supreme Court decided states could constitutionally deprive felons of the vote. source
QUOTE(Erasmussimo @ Aug 22 2005, 02:57 PM)
Should ex-felons have the right to vote?
Yes, but my reason for saying so is quite different. Experience has shown that the administration of ex-felon lists is so fraught with errors that the disenfranchisement of legal voters occurs all too frequently. Let's just dump this stupid rule so that we don't have to go through the administrative hassle and so we don't risk disenfranchising innocent voters.
I agree, but what concerns me is that this line of thinking could be abused to cover all sorts of voting restrictions.
For example, should we remove people from the registered voter roles when they have not voted in 10 years? I think so, it is simple data management if nothing else. Who is to say they live in the district anymore? You send them a letter, asking that they send back the postage paid card if they wish to remain a registered voter and if they don't send it back they are off the list, though they can of course re-register if the choose to later, so long as it is before the deadline.
I remember seeing people in the St. Louis area on the local news on election night, claiming to be disenfranchised because they were taken off the registration lists (in the way described above). IMHO there is a certain level of personal responsibility people need to be held to. If you don't vote for a decade, then get a letter warning that you will no longer be a registered voter if you do not mail the card back and you ignore the letter, well you threw away your chance to vote.
I worry that people with use the "minimize disenfranchisment" argument for everything, even arguing against registering to vote is plausible.