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Should Ex-Felons Get to Vote?

Should Ex-Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

  • No, Not One of the Them

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • Yes, Any and All of Them,

    Votes: 9 37.5%
  • Yes, For selected offences

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • Yes, After a "Waiting Period".

    Votes: 1 4.2%

  • Total voters
    24

shuamort

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I voted yes. They've served their time. Moreover, it seems unconstitutional that some states allow ex-felons to vote for national elections and some states don't.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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If we had an intelligent voter selection process in which the qualifications were more than mere age and citizenship, I'd say "NO".

As it stands, once the felon's sentence is up, he's said to have "repaid his debt to society", and should not be discriminated against. If he's still viewed as a problem, why the hell is he on this side of the bars?

One could qualify this and say that the ex-con can vote after he's freed from his parole obligations, I suppose. That would prevent those sentenced to life in prison from voting, as a compromise.

Is there a reason a politician can vote but not a man that's done his time and is now following the "straight and narrow"?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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shuamort said:
I voted yes. They've served their time. Moreover, it seems unconstitutional that some states allow ex-felons to vote for national elections and some states don't.
That would seem to violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th, but other parts of the Constitution reserve the regulation of voting to the states. Of course, the various "voting rights acts" walk all over that, too. A muddy trail, that.
 

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shuamort said:
I voted yes. They've served their time. Moreover, it seems unconstitutional that some states allow ex-felons to vote for national elections and some states don't.
Yes, they've served their time but we're talking about felonies here, not just petty misdemeanors. We're talking about letting mentally ill and sick people have a say in how our government is run. I don't they should have a voice as to keep our political system as efficient as possible.
 

shuamort

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Here's an interesting article on this too

On Election Day it will not matter to some 4.7 million Americans whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents or whether they have an opinion on anything at all. Under various state laws, they are barred from voting because they have felony records. This includes not just prison inmates (48 states), parolees (33 states) and probationers (29 states) but also a large number of people -- one third of the disenfranchised in all -- who are off parole and "free." Minorities are hit particularly hard by these state laws: They deny 13 percent of African American men the vote.

The 14th Amendment permits states to deny the vote "for participation in rebellion, or other crime." And it can be argued that prisoners should not vote; after all, the purpose of prison is to deny freedom. But with ex-cons, the argument shifts.

Another bald fact: Many disenfranchisement laws trace to the mid-1800s, when they were crafted to bar blacks with even minor criminal records from polls. Today this poisonous legal lineage tells not only in the South, which retains the most repressive statutes, but in states such as New York, where ex-parolees theoretically get their rights back but in reality encounter local election officials who demand discharge papers that don't exist, give misleading information and find other reasons to turn them away. A class-action lawsuit in New York charges that this system bars so many voters in high-crime neighborhoods that the districts effectively have lost their voice. In Florida, where many felons are barred forever unless the governor personally decides otherwise, 8 percent of adults cannot vote -- including one in four black men.
 

shuamort

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George_Washington said:
Yes, they've served their time but we're talking about felonies here, not just petty misdemeanors. We're talking about letting mentally ill and sick people have a say in how our government is run. I don't they should have a voice as to keep our political system as efficient as possible.
In Minnesota, shoplifting over $300 of merchandise is a felony. If an 18 year old shoplifted a TV on a dare and served his time, I don't see how it benefits him nor society to have him pay for this crime forever. If the ex-felon is so problematic, he/she shouldn't be roaming in society freely.
 

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shuamort said:
In Minnesota, shoplifting over $300 of merchandise is a felony. If an 18 year old shoplifted a TV on a dare and served his time, I don't see how it benefits him nor society to have him pay for this crime forever. If the ex-felon is so problematic, he/she shouldn't be roaming in society freely.
He can still contribute to society in other ways. But the right to vote and have a voice in our political system is a great priviledge that few countries take so seriously as we do. If a person is 18 years old, he or she is certainly old enough to know what they're doing.
 

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shuamort said:
I voted yes. They've served their time. Moreover, it seems unconstitutional that some states allow ex-felons to vote for national elections and some states don't.
Given that felons were convicted through due process, and the Constitution only allows rights to be deprived if due process is followed - how is unconstitutional to deny felons the right to vote?
 

Calm2Chaos

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I think it depends on your crime and the circumstances.
 

shuamort

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http://www.hrw.org/reports98/vote/usvot98o.htm
The exclusion of convicted felons from the vote took on new significance after the Civil War and passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave blacks the right to vote. Southern opposition to black suffrage led to the decision to use numerous ostensibly race-neutral voting barriers - e.g., literacy and property tests, poll taxes, grandfather clauses and criminal disenfranchisement provisions - with the explicit intent of keeping as many blacks as possible from being able to vote. Although laws excluding criminals from the vote had existed in the South previously, "between 1890 and 1910, many Southern states tailored their criminal disenfranchisement laws, along with other voting qualifications, to increase the effect of these laws on black citizens."5

Crimes that triggered disenfranchisement were written to include crimes blacks supposedly committed more frequently than whites and to exclude crimes whites were believed to commit more frequently. For example, in South Carolina, "among the disqualifying crimes were those to which [the Negro] was especially prone: thievery, adultery, arson, wife-beating, housebreaking, and attempted rape. Such crimes as murder and fighting, to which the white man was as disposed as the Negro, were significantly omitted from the list."6 In 1901 Alabama lawmakers - who openly stated that their goal was to establish white supremacy - included a provision in the state constitution that made conviction of crimes of "moral turpitude" the basis for disenfranchisement.7
http://www.aclu.org/votingrights/exoffenders/13041prs20000229.html
The United States Constitution prohibits the denial of the right to vote on the basis of race, sex or failure to pay a poll tax. Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court has held that states may generally deprive criminal offenders of the right to vote without violating the Constitution, Richardson v. Ramirez, 418 U.S. 24 (1974). However, a state law that disenfranchises certain criminal offenders will be deemed unconstitutional if that law was adopted with racially discriminatory intent and has a disproportionate impact on nonwhite offenders. Hunter v. Underwood, 471 U.S. 222 (1985).
Based on the statistics found in the prohibition of ex-felons, it would seem that these would be in violation of Richardson v. Ramirez thusly making them unconstitutional. YMMV.
 

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However, a state law that disenfranchises certain criminal offenders will be deemed unconstitutional if that law was adopted with racially discriminatory intent and has a disproportionate impact on nonwhite offenders. Hunter v. Underwood, 471 U.S. 222 (1985).

Based on the statistics found in the prohibition of ex-felons, it would seem that these would be in violation of Richardson v. Ramirez thusly making them unconstitutional. YMMV.
Most felons are men. Clearly, the laws that keep felons from voting are intended to keep men from voting, and therefore unconstitutional because they violate the 19th amendment.
:roll:
 

George_Washington

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M14 Shooter said:
Most felons are men. Clearly, the laws that keep felons from voting are intended to keep men from voting, and therefore unconstitutional because they violate the 19th amendment.
:roll:

:rofl Excellent point. I'm so sick hearing the liberals cry descrimination all the time. I don't even think they know what it means anymore.
 

Kandahar

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A 50-year-old who stole a television when he was 16 should be allowed to vote. A recently-released murderer probably shouldn't though (not that he would anyway).

I must concur with those who say it depends on the circumstances.
 
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shuamort

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George_Washington said:
I don't see how you would be able to prove that the prohibition would have a, "racially discriminatory intent."
Well, we could use history:

http://www.brennancenter.org/presscenter/releases_2000/pressrelease_2000_0921.html
Florida's history of racial discrimination figures prominently in the plaintiffs' legal arguments. The State's voting ban on ex-felons, adopted three years after the Civil War, was one of many Reconstruction-era tactics designed to undermine the political power of ex-slaves. The lawsuit argues that, because of its discriminatory intent and effect, Florida's voting ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 

shuamort

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George_Washington said:
Well, whether or not it was racially motivated is still subjective. The very act of banning felons from getting married has nothing to do with race.
You'll have to explain to me how you see the law that Florida enacted as being subjective.

In regards to these types of Jim Crow laws:
Almost all the southern states passed statutes restricting suffrage in the years from 1871 to 1889. Various registration laws, such as poll taxes, were established in Georgia in 1871 and 1877, in Virginia in 1877 and 1884, in Mississippi in 1876, in South Carolina in 1882, and in Florida in 1888. The effects were devastating. Over half the blacks who voted in Georgia and South Carolina in 1880 vanished from the polls in 1888. The drop in Florida was 27 percent. In places like Alabama, for example, where blacks equaled almost half the population, no African Americans were sent to the legislature after 1876.
 
H

hipsterdufus

OJ can vote, but in some states convicted felons can't.
After they serve their time, I would say yes.
Some states even let felons in prison vote.
Felons are citizens of this country as much as someone with a 20 IQ or the hate mongers from godhatesfags.com.

Why is this a states / rather than federal issue? Just curious.
 

Kandahar

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hipsterdufus said:
OJ can vote, but in some states convicted felons can't.
After they serve their time, I would say yes.
Some states even let felons in prison vote.
Felons are citizens of this country as much as someone with a 20 IQ or the hate mongers from godhatesfags.com.
One of the main arguments against letting felons in prisons to vote is because they could theoretically vote in retaliation against the local or state officials who imprisoned them. I realize the odds of this affecting the outcome of the election, or of the felons even bothering to vote, are small, but theoretically that's why they shouldn't be allowed to. Although frankly this pattern of voting isn't really that much dumber than the way lots of non-felons vote.

hipsterdufus said:
Why is this a states / rather than federal issue? Just curious.
Under the US Constitution, the federal government doesn't have any control over the way states conduct elections as long as they aren't violating the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 24th, or 26th amendments.
 

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Why is this a states / rather than federal issue? Just curious.
because states have almost absolute power over their own voting laws, and the federal government has little power over any voting law.
 

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Almost all the southern states passed statutes restricting suffrage in the years from 1871 to 1889. Various registration laws, such as poll taxes, were established in Georgia in 1871 and 1877, in Virginia in 1877 and 1884, in Mississippi in 1876, in South Carolina in 1882, and in Florida in 1888. The effects were devastating. Over half the blacks who voted in Georgia and South Carolina in 1880 vanished from the polls in 1888. The drop in Florida was 27 percent. In places like Alabama, for example, where blacks equaled almost half the population, no African Americans were sent to the legislature after 1876.
That and 0.99 will buy you a cheeseburger.

For your argument to hold any water you have to show that:
-The legislature specifically intended this law to deny voting rights to blacks
and/or
-The legislation has been applied unequally, based on discriminatory values.

And while youlre doing that, why doint you tell me how the law doesnt violate the 19th amendment, discriminating against men?


One of these days, you liberals will have cried wolf so many times that when RREAL discrimination surfaces, no one will listen to you.
 

shuamort

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M14 Shooter said:
That and 0.99 will buy you a cheeseburger.

For your argument to hold any water you have to show that:
-The legislature specifically intended this law to deny voting rights to blacks
and/or
-The legislation has been applied unequally, based on discriminatory values.

And while youlre doing that, why doint you tell me how the law doesnt violate the 19th amendment, discriminating against men?


One of these days, you liberals will have cried wolf so many times that when RREAL discrimination surfaces, no one will listen to you.
First off, I'm not a liberal. So, umm, shut up. :2razz:

I believe that my position has begun to hold water with the SCOTUS decision I've already cited.

As for discrimination against men, when the law was written (which was the litmus test for the SCOTUS decision) men were the only people who got vote. The basis of the Florida law wasn't based on the prejudice against men, it was based on the prejudice against former slaves (aka african-americans).

I'm not one to pull the race card, but this is a direct use of racial discrimination that all the post hoc hand waving can't dismiss.
 

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I believe that my position has begun to hold water with the SCOTUS decision I've already cited.
This hinges completely on your ability to show that the law was enacted with the intent to deprive -blacks- of their right to vote.

As for discrimination against men, when the law was written (which was the litmus test for the SCOTUS decision) men were the only people who got vote.
So?
Your argument is based on "demographics" - that most felons are X, so the law must have been written to deprive X of the right to vote.
X = men.

The basis of the Florida law wasn't based on the prejudice against men, it was based on the prejudice against former slaves (aka african-americans).
So you have said.
I haven't seen anything to back that up. however.
 
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