Felon Disenfranchisement

Topics: Democracy, United States, Felony Pages: 3 (1060 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Felon disenfranchisement laws are constitutional or statutory restrictions on the right to vote after a person has been convicted of felony. Today there are over 5.4 million that are denied their right to vote because they have been convicted of a felony. Based on estimates of the felon population in Florida and the voting tendencies of blacks and whites, if only eight-tenths of one percent of adult male felons in Florida had participated in the presidential election of 2000, Vice President Gore would have gained enough votes necessary to win the state and thus the presidency. Right to vote is fundamental right that should never be taken away.

There are many reasons that disenfranchisement of felons should be outlawed. It has been historically used as a tool for racism, poor are disproportionally affected, and threatens the health of American democracy.

Disenfranchisement of ex-convicts has a deep history steeped in racism. After the Civil War, Southern states designed their laws to have maximum impact on African-Americans while minimizing their effects on the white population. The purpose of this was to keep the African-Americans from voting and gaining power in politics. I am a naturalized citizen and a minority in the United States. I don’t want to ever see a time when the disenfranchisement can be used a weapon to enhance the power of the majority by taking it away from the minorities.

Having your right to vote taken away by the type or level of conviction will affect the poor much more than acutely than the rich. Many convicted felons come from poor or working-class urban districts, with low incomes, and low levels of formal education. The way United States judicial system is setup; if you are rich you can get away with much lesser conviction than if you are poor. The person can do this because they can afford a much better defense lawyer. I do not believe that it is fair that a person can have his right to vote taken away because...
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