JPay Blog

The Right to Vote

JPay explores felon disenfranchisement in its home state of Florida |

Florida news outlets – including the Miami Herald with a front page story this week – have been reporting on felon voting rights.  Mostly these stories have focused on the political ramifications of either having felons on the voting rolls or purging their names from them, which is relevant considering the national election cycle is ramping up.  The conclusions are predictable: because the incarceration rate for minority groups is disproportionately high, and because those groups tend to register and vote Democratic, the exclusion or inclusion of post-release felons in the civic electoral process either helps or hurts the incumbent party (in Florida, the Republican Party).

Florida’s news outlets have done a good job examining the political angles, but in this recent spate of articles they haven’t asked the important question.

Why?

As a company that actively encourages engagement between incarcerated individuals and their communities on the outside (through our money transfer, inmate email, and video visitation services – all designed for the friends and families of inmates), this is a question we at JPay might ask.

Why should individuals convicted of a felony in the state of Florida, and who have served their sentences to the satisfaction of their supervising agencies, not have their voting rights restored?  Why should someone who has paid their debt to society be prevented from fully reentering that society, particularly its civil discourse?

Isn’t that what we would all hope for from a rehabilitative correctional system – that it would help guide an individual who exhibited at least one instance of antisocial behavior (a crime) toward a life of engagement with society?  Instead, in Florida, we seem to say that the commission of a felony – any felony – forever prevents an individual from having a voice in the political process.

There’s a term for that.  It’s called felon disenfranchisement, and it’s actually pretty rare.

Florida, until 2010, was one of just four states to permanently bar ex-felons from voting.  Recently, the state simplified its clemency laws, making it easier for men and women who have successfully completed felony sentences to apply to have their civil rights restored.  But the application process is still judged on an individual basis, putting Florida in a group of just 11 states that make the restitution of basic voting rights an exercise in bureaucratic hoop-jumping.  Thirty-seven states – the vast majority – automatically restore voting rights after the completion of a felony sentence.  Two states, Maine and Vermont, never deprive convicted criminals of their voting rights in the first place.

What effect has this large-scale disenfranchisement had on Florida (or the other 10 states with draconian post-release voting laws) from a corrections/criminal justice perspective?  If you view the deprivation of voting rights as an extension of the ‘punishment’ a felon receives for committing his or her crime, then it certainly fails as a deterrent: disenfranchisement actually increases the likelihood of future criminal involvement.  In fact, among people with prior conviction records, only 12.1 per thousand of voters were rearrested, compared to 26.6 per thousand non-voters.*  Civic engagement, it seems, is a more effective deterrent against recidivism than the threat of additional sentencing.

Several civic-minded organizations, including the Leadership Conference, the Prison Policy Initiative, and the Sentencing Project, have put forward strong philosophical arguments against felon disenfranchisement.  Many of these arguments are rooted in the racially disproportionate nature of the criminal justice system, but all of them revolve around the concept of fairness.  It is inherently unjust to have a blanket ban on civic participation for life when each individual infraction carries a unique correctional sentence.  If society, through the institution of laws and judicial process, has determined that a certain period of incarceration (or probation, or parole) is sufficient punishment for a given crime, then that punishment should end there. As the Leadership Conference puts it, “When someone has fully and irreversibly paid his debt to society, it is of the utmost importance that society returns the favor by restoring back to him his right to vote.”

Why, then, does Florida persist in its policy to deny the right to vote to former felons?  Perhaps the Florida media outlets had the right take on this topic to start with: it’s all political.

** Chin, Gabriel J.,
Felon Disenfranchisement and Democracy in the Late Jim Crow Era. Ohio State
Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 5, p. 329, 2007; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion
Paper No. 07-31. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1075642

 

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49 Comments

  1. Aerial

    October 7, 2017 - 8:26 pm

    THERE IS “NO” DEBATE HERE! The constitution clearly states – NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!

    END of argument and debate!

    Inmates pay taxes!

  2. mom.b

    May 24, 2013 - 9:46 am

    there are too many subgroups categorizing to mandate correction facilitation disregarding individuality

  3. Chevonne

    April 10, 2013 - 11:11 pm

    All I have to say on this matter is things of this nature should depend on the crime committed. Not the person. If you take a life then somethings may be taken away from you but something such as drug possession is not so bad that you should not be allowed to vote. People need to think about what the crime is and how it truly affects others. If you have deigned another person of their voting rights by taking their life then you do not deserve to have yours returned all other things should not stop someone from being able to vote. If you can get out and get a job, pay taxes and become a productive member of society then you should have all the rights of such.

  4. JK

    April 9, 2013 - 8:00 am

    Here is my story: Hard childhood, unstable home, was a co-defendant at 18 years old, who had the unfortunate circumstance to only have a public defender. Was told if I didn’t take a plea, or SNITCH (wish I would have in retrospect), I could be sentenced to 20 YEARS. Yes, 20 YEARS. No, nobody got hurt. It was basically an argument and fight between 2 people, where a gun got pulled out, not shot. Not by me, I was just there. Anyways, long story short, after successfully graduating college, serving more than half of my house arrest and getting off early, I was technically violated in 1999 on my “drug offendor” probation since the “crime” involved a small amount of weed. Sentenced to 47 months in FL DOC. Wow, talk about a wake up call for a young, naive, white, non criminal. Anyways, made it through. The WORST PART was the uneducated, angry, power hungry and abusive correctional staff.

    Was RELEASED in OCT 2002, and applied to have my civil rights reinstated in 2005, IT IS NOW 2013. I own several successful business’s, employ over 100 at any given time, pay 6 figures in taxes, own multiple properties (more taxes), am married and have a kid in private school (don’t even get to use the taxes I pay). In 2006, I fought for and was awarded a FL Real Estate License also, even with no civil rights. I have been blessed to be very successful and can now afford lawyers, the best of them. Even they, cannot get my rights restored. It has been 8 YEARS since I applied, NOTHING. I have followed up repeatedly and been told that I have to wait. FOR 8 YEARS???? In FL, they meet 2 or 4 times a year, I forget what they told me, and see maybe 40-50 cases each meeting. Simple mathmatics show that I may be dead before I get my right restored, even with money, even with lawyers, even with a stellar record of success. I can pay 6 figures in taxes, have access to any house for sale, occupied or not for the last 6 years, have ZERO record since 1999, OVER 14 YEARS, and CAN STILL NOT GET MY RIGHTS RESTORED. The entire system is a joke and it disgusts me. I am looking for a politician to “donate” to, as I am thinking it is the only way I will be able to ever get my “rights” back. 8 YEARS they have been “reviewing” it, 10 years clean, 14 years since the offense occurred. If I cannot get my rights restored, I am not sure how people of lessor means would ever do so. This needs fixed!

    From a stable, successful, tax paying, kid raising, home owning, license holding, respectable by any means citizen-who can’t vote!

    “Criminals” cannot vote, unless they are a congressman or senator-then they can write the laws.

  5. GS

    March 28, 2013 - 11:17 pm

    99 percent of the instances of “voter fraud” were people who paid their price in prison and were unfamiliar enough with the laws in the state they wound up in to accidentally risk their freedom to vote to abstractly elect some people no one heard of to cast votes for us in the Electoral College.
    Based on these few violations of election law, the GOP has successfully enacted “voter ID” laws in many states to disenfranchise even more Americans.
    The people who were made example of – the people who served time in prison – never should have been disenfranchised in the first place.

  6. Kat

    January 6, 2013 - 1:31 pm

    In Ohio, I found out, that my son will have the right to vote once he is released. And I am thankful for this. As is he.
    He was arrested on a probation violation and put in jail (then prison) before he got his signature on his vote by mail ballot. It was sad to know that his first presidential election that he was unable to case his ballot.
    His was not a crime with ‘victims’. Here in Ohio our prisons are full of young people that got caught with something that in my younger days would be considerd a slap on the wrist.
    I believe that the “zero tolerance” policies have lead everyone to not take anything on a case by case basis. No thinking, just slap them with the worst thing possible. Zero tolerance is a mindless, gutless way to run our society.
    So, while my son serves his punishment, I know that upon release that he’ll go back to his job (yes, some people in prison were actually working, tax paying individuals that were just young and dumb) and Ohio will allow him the right to vote. He will have served his time, and he will gets his rights restored.
    I am fortunate that his employer sees that he is more than what he did, and they want to hire him back upon release. He has life plans and goals. Not all felons are worthless. You cannot class a person on a word. Felon is pretty broad a term to cast someone out of society for life.
    I can say that the repulican/democrat comments have some merit, but I know that both of these parties have folks that try to do the right thing, not just for political gain. I agree and disagree with things the Governor of my state does, but he is trying to fix the felon issue in this state. To help those that have victimless felonies (think F4-F5) to gain their lives back and to become active citizens again.
    I believe everyone has the right to elect our leaders. Everyone’s life experience gives them different viewpoints, and all are valuable

  7. CJ

    December 28, 2012 - 11:40 pm

    I know alot of folks who have the privilage of voting and just choose not to vote. So it is a personal decision.
    I know some inmates serving time are sorry for committing a crime while they know their crime will be forever judged, serving their time is a sentence served in prison and out of prison. Felons are a forgotten group in our society. Once a felon always a felon even if they change within their hearts, society labels them as criminals forever.

  8. Bert Crawford

    December 23, 2012 - 10:45 am

    I think once a person pays their time and is released and after any probation, they should have all their rights restored. I look at it like a mortage when you make the last payment it is yours to keep. I also feel if they can’t have their rights restored they should lose their rights to pay taxes as well!!

  9. kelly olson

    December 3, 2012 - 11:17 pm

    not only do i think it is unfair but i think it is a way for corrupt government to sway the vot i feel that they are and will be forever citizens of this country , and their opinion counts. with everything becoming a felony now adays, and the increase of incarserated people, i feel that its a way for law makers to get the vote they want. people have to survive and when the economy is bad and the government goes broke more people commit crimes out of desparation , poverty and just hopelessness.maybe if more peoples opinions were concidered valuable and everyone had the right to vote we could change this country and move in the direction that is responsible for its people as a whole
    i feel that we are only as healthy of a country as our sickest person and aren’t we responsible for society as a whole also if we are civilized why cant we get that we are all responsible for our people all of them and their oppinion does count. i think everyone should have the right to vote no matter what . no excuses and i feel that all votes should count not electorial votes peoples votes

  10. Wilma

    November 29, 2012 - 12:52 am

    In Australia, human rights was applied a few years ago – with the result that only being over 70 can be used as a reason for not voting – a choice which can be made by individuals if they wish to opt out of our compulsory voting system

    People in detention, hospital, nursing homes, etc can exercise their right to be part of elections by using the official postal voting system

    One person I write to in Texas thinks his right to be on the electoral roll with be withheld until 5 years after release

  11. John

    November 25, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    I was fortunate to be allowed to vote this year, here in Colorado. I was discharged Oct 26th and went right from the parole office to the County Clerks office and voted! I was able to do this because I registered ahead of time, was denied, but when I pursued the issue, they told me to bring in my discharge papers and I would be allowed to vote.
    The thing is, know your rights and follow up.

  12. cheri

    November 24, 2012 - 5:04 pm

    i am a ex-felon and the way i see it if there going to take our right to vote ,what other rights will b next. our for fathers wrote the Constitution so every one could b treated equal right,so what gives any one the right to take those rights away? if a person has served there time then all should b as it was b4 it all began.and not all felons go and do crimes some r just in the right place at the wrong time. i have a question for all that think felons shouldn’t vote…. how would u feel if yr right to bare arms was take and u couldn’t protect the ones u love or yr home and possessions,well guess what thats probably going to b the next one the politicians take away next!

  13. Nanna

    November 18, 2012 - 11:02 pm

    Here’s another thought. People imprisoned are disproportionately minorities and of lower socioeconomic classes, so by forever barring them from voting, are we not also covertly denying representation to minorities and poor people in this country?

  14. M. Wilson

    November 11, 2012 - 11:18 pm

    I feel sorry for the unforgiving people who have posted here. How would you feel if you were continuously punished for a mistake that you made. If someone is making an effort to become a productive member of this society, they should have the chance to do so. Judge not least ye be judged……

  15. Chip Peterson

    October 16, 2012 - 10:36 am

    Iowa also imposes a disenfranchisement law on ex-felons. Here it is considered a crime to even REGISTER to vote, as proven by the recent arrest of two ex-felons (for having registerd to vote while applying for their Iowa drivers’ license). My question is: why is it so wrong for people to want to get involved in their community and want to have a voice in their own lives. What are those in power so afraid of? Are our leaders afraid that they might be voted out of office in order to replace them with someone who may actually FIX our broken Criminal Justice System? That’s the only reason I can think of why we, ex-felons, cannot vote. There needs to be a peaceful movement by the People to correct this injustice.

  16. CHS

    October 14, 2012 - 7:37 am

    I feel that once a person have served their time, they should have the right to vote. How else are they suppose to fit back into society. Granted, you have some men/women that will never make a change, why, because their is no one there to help them. they get out of jail and told they can’t work certain jobs, can’t live in certain area’s, etc. How are they suppose to better themselves, instead they commit crime again just to enter the system again, where they would have a place to sleep, eat.
    Our society talk about rehilbilitation, but we do little to achieve this. It’s more than talk. Yes, that is a politician’s speech! Life is more than talk. I know quite a few men/women that have been incarcerated, come out into society and have made a very good life for themselves, but the key is they had someone in their corner to HELP! We need to do as Jesus commanded those that brought the prostitute to him, those that are without SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE!

  17. ladymstro

    October 8, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    All this talk, and not one seems to be concerned over the ones that have been convicted and are NOT guilty. Yes, it happens. Know first hand. There is NO need to add to any one’s punishment! The family of those loved ones incarcerated pay and high price as well. It is time that the WHOLE system is overhauled!!! Yes, I agree there are way to many criminals running the system. Those working there that think it is their duty to add to the punishment to those that are suppose to be under their care!!! The right to vote, is just that…a given right. Again, it is time to over haul the whole system. In each state!!! There are to many that did not do the crime, but no one took the time, or cared to see if they were guilty. If you have money, you can buy justice. If you are poor, forget it, they send you to prison.

  18. NMS

    October 2, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    Voting disenfranchisement is certainly not new in U.S. history. Someone or some organization stands to gain power and economic influence when people are prevented from voting in a democracy.

    We are currently seeing newer attempts to restrict voting rights of people who are NOT felons during this current Presidential election cycle.

    The battle for control is being intensely fought across the U.S. for political gain by political parties AND special interests.

    Prisoners who are U.S. citizens should have their voting rights restored after serving their sentences at the very least.

    In Michigan:
    Michigan residents confined in jail or prison who are awaiting arraignment or trial are eligible to vote. However, residents who are serving a sentence in jail or prison after conviction cannot vote during the period of confinement. When residents are released from jail or prison after serving a sentence, they are free to participate in elections without restriction.

  19. cara moore

    September 29, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    These are very good points either way. The biggest problem, besides the abuse in the prisons, is how do we make them even want to return to society? We take away their right to vote, we make them tell every hiring company they are a felon, we give the some of them outrageous sentences for some of the most stupid things. The title is a major problem. It always makes every one think you have done something really wrong, when some felony laws are just plainly do not need to be made sound like some big outrageous crime. Some of those crimes are so petty they get probation. If it is not something you belong behind bars for why make life impossible for the “felon”. It was alright for Barbara Bush The First Lady to have and accident that caused someone to get killed, how much time did she serve? None. Is she a felon? The point I am trying to make is we send way to many people to prison for minor crimes. A man that makes meth at his house deserves to go to jail, but if he made it just for himself does he deserve a longer term than the ones that make large to sell amounts? The crimes do not fit the time in this country and the tax payers are paying for it. SO with the way things are I say let them vote even while serving time and maybe the laws would change and be more fair.

  20. Kevin Woodall

    September 27, 2012 - 9:32 am

    It is laughable that so many people are in favor or giving an individual that ignores the law back their right to vote. Perfect example of the inmates running the asylum. Yes, 10 minutes of not thinking can cost you. How about think….really isn’t that hard. People are not brought up to think they have to be bad to survive, the chose to be bad to live a certain way. There are ALWAYS options to crime. Everyone has feet, walk away. Product of your environment…BS, lame excuse for simple minds.

    If you don’t like the law….get it changed. You don’t need the right to vote to have an impact. And all Felons should move to Vermont and Maine. Great place to start the movement.

    There are travesties and injustices in our system….this isn’t one of them. There are bigger fish to fry.

    I would wager that more than 75% of the people in favor granting voting rights are felons and also support the Democratic Party. Funny how that works.

  21. Tedd Mayes

    September 21, 2012 - 9:51 am

    In my mind Vermont & Maine are the only humane states in this instance, they don’t remove an inmates right to vote in the first place. To remove a persons right to vote is stripping them of a basic human right to express themselves in our society. This should be a crime in any state!

  22. Denise Arney

    September 11, 2012 - 6:48 pm

    I don’t have any Idea Why this a prob. Why can”t they vote. They live in the USA.
    Where is it written that every one can vote unless you are a felon. Take your time trying to find it. our for fathers Didn”t write like that. So back off.

    A wife of a felon .

  23. Otis Joiner

    September 8, 2012 - 10:41 am

    If they have a right to vote,Its showes they would vote as Librals.We have to many of them know,Thats how Obama got in office an ran up $5 trillion in dept,thats more than all Presidents combined since George Washington,
    I have a Grandson serving 22 months for VOP DUI,I will get his rights restored only becouse he is Consertive,An will vote that way.
    Sorry inmates that the way I feel

  24. Shelly

    September 7, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    I agree with those who feel if a felon has served his time and paid his dues to society his voting rights need to be restored. That is the one issue that needs to be addressed across the states. The whole idea is that they have paid for the crime according to society’s demands. Now drop it and let them get on with their lives and let them work. The reason most felons end up back in prison is because nobody will hire them and states have rules about what jobs felons can have. If you get out and have no place to stay, no job, and 100 dollars (if you are lucky) what are you going to do? We need to contact our governors and state representatives as this is a state issue. If each person reading this would take the time to do that and get five family members to do the same maybe we could have progress!

  25. Temple

    September 6, 2012 - 4:14 pm

    Really I don’t understand why they lose their right to vote. Regardless of sentencing they are still citizens and laws passed continue to affect them just as the people elected do!

    We (the united States) is a republic, was founded as a republic. Look up Democracy in the Law Dictionary is right in there with socialist, communist. How many of the people are aware of that?

  26. Axel

    September 5, 2012 - 7:11 am

    It’s not brain surgery. In a true democracy ALL the citizens get to vote. If citizens are disenfranchised for any reason whatsoever that society loses the right to call itself a democracy. Not that the USA was a democracy in the first place as it is better described as an oligarchy or plutocracy. Don’t kid yourself USA prisoner human rights abuse is right down there with any emerging third world country. It is the shame of the civilised world.

  27. andreau

    August 31, 2012 - 8:19 pm

    If you don’t like a law, you have tthe power to get it changed. It takes a lot of work and effort on an organization part , but putting pressure on legislators with call and petitions, will work. Just like the the “big boys” lobby for what they want we can too.

  28. Tom Stephens

    August 30, 2012 - 1:10 pm

    Our voteing rights should have nothing to do with our convictions. We are still U.S. citizens. We still pay taxes. Remember the words, “No taxation without representation”.Well, we vote to get that representation. I just hope enough of us vote to keep the Republicans out of power.Otherwise, the working poor and middle class will have the Republican foot on our throats again. Do you want that?

  29. Gloria

    August 9, 2012 - 12:23 am

    I am currently working on a campaign to inform voters what they will need in order to get an picture ID free of charge. PA has this law which states that you cannot be admitted to the polls without a picture ID from a particular source deemed by the state. It is a prob for blacks the poor and senior citizens.

    During the course of knocking on doors, I met with another group basically doing the sme thing. We talked about the issue with felons and the leader of the group shared a release from the ACLU stating that felons can vote. I wish I could remember the law that the ACLU cited!

  30. Karl Steiner

    July 30, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    Arizona keeps ex felons from voting even if they moved there from another state which gave voting rights back. It is almost impossible to get voting rights in Arizona, and this type of punishment is clearly unconstitutional.

  31. Michelle Vasquez

    July 22, 2012 - 7:55 pm

    To whom it may concern,
    I did read the small snyopsis of letting felones vote. I believe all convicted felones should have the right to vote. Now keep in mind if they have committed numerous felon offenses that are against humanity,community and the system they should not be able to vote. Felones work and pay taxes so I feel they should be able to vote on issues that pertain to their money and where there taxes should be spent along with choosing a president who will support their ideas. I think all states should allow ex-jail felones to vote I also believe that if this law could work then the government should consider not requiring felones to report that they were incarcerated. The idea to letting this group of people vote is they have served there time and are now a asset to society the same concept should be. For example if i am a convicted felon and i go apply for a job i should not have to report it. Alot of felones get turned down on top notch jobs that they would get hired for if it wasnt for there criminal record.

  32. GENEVA

    July 22, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    The RIGHT to VOTE is a right GIVEN that shouldn’t be taken away. Please help change the laws in your state….

  33. Cheryl

    July 21, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    The discussion focuses on restoration of felon voting rights, but many countries in the world do not rescind the right to vote upon incarceration. The European Convention of Human Rights supports the right to vote for most prisoners. Why should anyone’s right to vote be taken away?

  34. Cherry

    July 14, 2012 - 2:18 am

    Don’t screw up in the first place and you won’t have to worry about your voting rights.

  35. SANDI

    July 13, 2012 - 1:58 am

    after reading the current 14 comments, i can see BOTH sides of this argument. BUT, my very FIRST thoughts were as a result of the first comment i read, which mentioned “REHABILITATION”!! I live in TX and actually have a loved one incarcerated for 1st degree murder. yes, he did kill someone. No, he is not a crimanal or anyone to be considered “dangerous to others”. WHATEVER… he will likely spend the rest of his days in prison! i write and visit him often – and do i ever get an ear full about what goes on “inside”. i could about PROMISE that there is no prison guard that is the least bit interested in rehabilitating anyone. It appears to be a “test of wits” between guards and inmates! guards can, and do, do anything they want to anytime they want to, just because they want to… and they CAN! I have not seen ANY sign of “rehabilitation”. POINT BEING… no one comes out of there with a “new and different” ATTITUDE. a large percentage wind up right back in there. and YES, it costs the state a fortune to provide things for them that many could not normally AFFORD if they were on the “outside”. most likely, the ones who DID vote and thought of ALL OF US, as opposed to themselves (who’s gonna give them a gov’t ck every month and provide food stamps and free medical care, etc.) – well, they possibly were not CORRUPT prior to being incarcerated, but it would sure be easily LEARNED between going in and getting out! NOT a good thing! having some experience with the situation – and being a republican (ha!), i feel that each state should be allowed to make their own call – and to hell with what the other states are doing. and i think, tho these guys have “paid their debt” (??) – done their time, that hasn’t always made any GOOD changes in them. most of them do “find God”, and i do feel like God forgives those who are truly remorseful and see the “errors” in their ways, and ask for forgiveness. and they probably feel like they’re already experienced HELL, with the heat in TX and the state prisons have no a/c. they watch many of the older and sickly inmates drop dead from heat stroke, etc. – knowing that it’s just “one less mouth to feed” as far as the state is concerned. for the reason that all state prisons are not “equal” (different living conditions, different rehab attempts and programs, etc) – i don’t think FLORIDA should be the least bit concerned what OTHER states are doing. NOR SHOULD WE! I’d prefer to do WITHOUT their vote as most are hard up for a place to live, a place to work, wives/husbands have gone their separate ways, their kids look at them as strangers… there HAS to be some bitterness lingering! it would be like saying that WE ALL WANT some “bitter” person running our country and our lives. and too, there is the “race card” in play often. don’t know for sure, but have gotten the impression that FL may have some primarily black areas?? what was that deal with Miami-Dade when Bush wound up winning out. i mean, it was sooo OBVIOUS that those people either could not read, or simply chose not to follow the instructions. and look at the mess and uproar it caused for the entire country – BECAUSE of those who were illiterate, and/or BITTER – possibly rebelious. maybe there wasn’t a black majority?? but that’s all the media showed during all the confusion. i’d say, whether these people were “scarred” prior to going in prison, or while they were in prison, or after they “paid their debt” (and i’m still wondering what PRICE you people are putting on a family member’s LIFE, or a young girl’s virginity/sanity, or some 70 yr old who’s life savings were stolen by a scam artist, or some 5 yr old child who has learned that “the norm” is to be beaten and bruised and frightened 24/7, etc, etc, – and i really would LIKE TO GO ON!! HA!) and i do feel sorry for these inmates who were brought up to feel that you HAD to be BAD to even survive – and had no chance in life to begin with! but i’m a little concerned that people are so ANXIOUS to have their votes
    1 what’s wrong with that simply being a part of their punishment? this entire issue just seems like another one of those deals for people to fight over, argue about, protest for/against. just let the states say “yes” or “no” – depending on their prison systems – and then… END OF STORY. you commit a crime, you know you can or can NOT vote ever again – unless you chose to move to a state where you KNOW you CAN. ?? WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?? sounds like “by the people, for the people” to me!!!

  36. Patty

    July 11, 2012 - 5:50 am

    To me it ain’t such a big deal cause most politicians are criminals anyway. Truth is any felon can wait 5 years and then have his right to vote restored!

  37. Michael

    July 7, 2012 - 9:16 am

    This is something I’ve never really considered, but you do make a good point. Why after serving their time are they denied the right to vote? If the state feels the need to punish them longer then their sentence, shouldn’t they simply be in jail longer?

    Does anyone know which states allow ex-cons to vote?

  38. Jay

    July 6, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    Whine, whine, whine…. These people didn’t care about voting while committing their crimes. Why is it so important now? I am so sick of this kind of crap. Prison is supposed to be unpleasant, it is punishment. The whole idea is not to end up there and if you do stay straight and don’t go back. Commit a felony lose the right to vote, sounds fair to me! In most cases the criminal showed no sympathy, in some cases no mercy, to the victim, so society should extend to the criminal the same.

  39. DALE

    June 26, 2012 - 8:37 am

    WHY DO WE THE PEOPLE ALLOW ONE PERSON TO WRITE AND PUSH THOUGH A LAW, THAT EFFECTS EVERYONES LIFE FOR THE REST OF THERE LIFE, 30 SECONDS OF NOT THINKING CAN GET U A RECORD FOR A LIFE TIME AND THERE NOTHING IN THE LAW TO REPAIR YOUR LIFE IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. WHY CANNT WE WRITE A LAW THAT FIXES A MISTAKE YOU MAKE AT 17 YRS OLD WHY DO WE PUNISH KIDS FOR NOT HAVING THE EXPERIENCE AT A 50 YRS PERSON BUT WE PUNISH THEM IN THE SAME WAY WE WOULD A 50 YR OLD. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE ALLOWED OUR LAW MAKERS TO MAKE AND PASS SO STUPID ass LAWS ITS TIME WE THE PEOPLE STAND UP AND SAY THESE LAWS EFFECT US NOT FOREIGNERS, 100 PERCENT AMERICANS. THERE NEEDS TO BE A LAW IF YOUR DO YOUR TIME AND PAY YOUR DUES YOUR RECORD IS CLEAR OF ALL WRONG DOING NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. AND ALL YOUR RIGHTS ARE RETURNED TO YOU. AUTOMATICALLY

  40. sandra

    June 24, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    U r Soo right. When they get sentenced and taken to prison that is serving their time. They really need a chance in .serving their time as best as they can do it. Inmate abuse is just going to turn them into a mean and angry person by the time they get released. I understand, if they get in your face well, then maybe they get what they’re asking for, but the majority of the inmates already know that they have a.better chance on getting out early on good behavior, but with the inmate abuse it could just lead them to getting more time added. I have my 19yr. Old and I always pray for his safety and good health.I hope he’s not having it too hard. He wrote me and mentioned that everyday is a struggle. With the guards and the Orange. He keeps to himself and tries not to be any trouble, but from the sound of it, I’m sure he is having it hard!! I really need to make it outthere and visit my son. He’s doing his time for now at willacy unit in Texas and its been 3 mths since Ive seen him. Ohgod, I miss him!!! He’s been at willacy for 3 mths and 9 mths at Bexar county.he’s gotten 1 yr out of the way. He got sentenced 8 yrs. So, yea nobody ever said prison was a fun place to be at.

  41. Tormented

    June 13, 2012 - 9:56 am

    This is just another example of inmate abuse! When you are sentenced that is the punishment for the crime you have been convicted of. Not to be FURTHER punished once imprisoned. The constant abuse by the C.O.’s and the Prison Industry is just over the top. Once your sentence is served you should have the right to return to a normal population and not further punishment.

  42. dawg

    June 12, 2012 - 2:06 am

    Having served time in any correctional setting, you have cost the State thousands of dollars to keep you there. You should not be allowed to vote until you have paid enough taxes to cover the total cost to the law-abiding people that have funded your passage through the system.

    Given that your employment prospects are now very similar to a semi-literate baboon, that will probably never happen, unless you are some sort of corrupt politician or businessman.

  43. Mrs.Love

    June 10, 2012 - 9:41 pm

    My belief is after a person has succesfully payed their debt back to society restore their once rights that were not appreciated should be reactivated. I would think that logically this would give individuals a reason to get back on the right path of life. But we label them and then expect for them to change it like saying once someon commits an offense they can not be redeemed. No one is perfect, but God I believe strongly in accountability, but I also believe that if permitted redemption can help with the rehabilatation process.

  44. Todd M

    June 10, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    If I am arrested on a Felony and pay my plenty to the State of Florida. Why would it want to hold me back from moving forward in society and having a say on Political Veiws and feeling as if I belong instead of making me feel as I am not important to the State where I spend my dollars and pay my taxes. My money is good enough for the State but not my vote. Is this not the 21st Century?

  45. SHELYN HARPE

    June 6, 2012 - 9:35 pm

    ITS A SHAME FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE FINISHED A SENTENCE AND STILL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE. GOD FORGIVES AND MAN AIN’T IN THE POSITION TO JUDGE ANYONE. THEY THEMSELVES ARE DOIN FELONY CRIMES AND THERE ARE SOME THAT CAN VOTE WHEN THEY MAY SAY OTHERS CAN’T. THE LAWS ARE NOT JUSTICE AND WE ALL KNOW THAT.

    WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND. ONE NEVER KNOWS WHERE LIFE WILL TAKE THEM. WE JUST HAVE TO STAY PRAYERFUL. JUST SAYIN.

  46. Sally

    June 4, 2012 - 9:21 pm

    I would like to know WHY ONCE TIME IS SERVED AN EX-CON CANNOT VOTE. WHAT DOES THE CRIME HAVE TO DO WITH THEIR VOTING RIGHTS???

  47. ANGELA WALKER

    June 3, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    I was under the impression that all states do not allow felons to vote and other civil rights are relinquished as well. There are no second chances for felons. Even stupid things you did as a teenager like brandishing a toy gun will hang with you for the rest of your life if your a convicted felon. Its stupid and uncalled for that you cannot even license to run a business your rejected for certain things pertaining to a business.

  48. shellidawn

    June 1, 2012 - 11:55 pm

    WA State says that once the sentence is completed AND all legal and financial obligations are paid (which are excessive and onerous in many cases)voting rights can be reinstated. Sad sad day in America

  49. Nemeika johnson

    May 28, 2012 - 11:54 am

    Washington dc have that law about ex-felon can not vote

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