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Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote

A new study by the Sentencing Project shows that 1.5 million felons who have completed their criminal sentences have been denied the right to vote. The laws vary from state to state. 34 states allow convicted felons to vote. 14 provide some sort of prohibition - with 8 providing a total ban. From the report overview:

An estimated 4.7 million Americans are not eligible to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement laws that apply in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Election laws are determined by each state, and so disenfranchisement laws vary significantly across the country. Persons who are excluded from voting include people currently serving a felony sentence in prison or on probation or parole, as well as persons in 14 states which disenfranchise convicted persons even after completion of sentence.

Of the 14 states that disenfranchise persons after completion of sentence, 6 do so for all persons convicted of a felony1 and 8 others do so either for certain categories of offenses or for certain time periods.2 In all 14 states, some or all persons convicted of a felony can be considered to be permanently disenfranchised. In some states, for example, this can include an 18-year old convicted of a first-time non-violent offense and sentenced to probation. The only means by which these persons can have their voting rights restored is through action by the state, variously by a pardon or restoration of rights from the governor or board or pardons, or by legislative action. In many of these 14 jurisdictions, restoration of rights is as a practical matter unattainable for most convicted persons.

Back to the LA Times: The report recommends:

To remedy these perceived wrongs, the report suggests that states repeal bans on voting for individuals who have completed their sentences, eliminate waiting periods for restoration, help eligible people through the process and report annually on the number of restorations applied for and granted.

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    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:40:24 AM EST
    How many are Rich how many are politicos and how many are the oligarchies? I will tell you none! and our land of freedom moves on with the political narcotics of our wars,on the people. Only in a non nation would this happen. Lets all hear it for our government of gang members marching for the non ideals.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 01:27:58 PM EST
    What is the problem? Felons, by definition, have committed crimes against the people. If we can take away their freedom as punishment, we certainly can take away their rights to vote.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#3)
    by David on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 02:07:04 PM EST
    They refused to live by the rules of society, why should they recieve the benefits?

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 02:17:41 PM EST
    I really don't have strong feelings either way on this topic, but it occurs to me that if voting was something so important to the felons themselves, we'd see piles of them moving to the states where they could vote.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 03:14:51 PM EST
    Because voting is a right not a privilege and because our justice system is skewed so that more poor folks and more minorities end up convicted of felonies than do their richer, lighter-skinned counterparts who commit the same "henious acts", and therefore a specific group of people are deliberately disenfranchised. For God's sake, we complain that they won't assimilate into the mainstream after release yet send an unequivocal message to them that WE WON'T LET THEM. I thought the state can only deprive you of rights for the time of your incarceration. How is this constitutional??

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 04:24:59 PM EST
    Ok if you say so.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#7)
    by wishful on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 07:16:14 PM EST
    What mfox said.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 07:44:40 PM EST
    What makes you think there is a constitutional right to vote? Do you kids just make stuff up? Felons get to vote if their state lets them vote. It's as simple as that.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 09:23:03 PM EST
    Err, "Claire", there's this little thingy called the 15th Amendment that clearly lays out that voting is a right, though it does not clearly lay out that it shall not be infringed upon for reasons other than race or former condition of servitude. Given the race-based nature of most of the "War on Drugs" (where if you're a rich white Hollywood star snorting cocaine you get a slap on the wrist if anything, while if you're a poor black mother you get sent to jail and your voting rights taken away forever), it's arguable that states are violating the 15th Amendment when they bar felons from voting, since they are disproportionally removing the right to vote based on race. In addition, it's unclear that anybody other than a court can remove someone's right to vote. The 14th Amendment says that no right can be removed from a person except via due process of law. Thus laws that automatically remove a person's right to vote (rather than give a judge discretion to do so) may not pass Constitutional muster either. Not that it matters. Once Bush appoints Judge Roy Moore to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Rehnquist, the Supremes will happily rubber-stamp any deprivation of civil rights against anybody who isn't a good right-wing born-again Christian. I wonder if Judge Moore will approve stoning as the punishment for adultery? Hmmm....

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 08:00:54 AM EST
    Claire writes:
    What makes you think there is a constitutional right to vote
    Claire, none of the things that come to mind as a reply to this assinine statement are appropriate retorts for TL and I respect them. So feel free to fill in the insulting expletive of your choice. On the bright side, your outstanding ability to ignore relevant facts and suspend reality makes you a poster child for just the kind of American G.W. loves.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 08:26:49 AM EST
    Claire at February 16, 2005 08:44 PM trolling!!!

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 10:40:11 AM EST
    BAdTux, What strange logic. Right off the bat, you play the race card. Since HL has already censored me several times, I know that if I counter your silly statement at any length, above a grade school level, this post will disappear. So let me keep it reall simple.... First you admit there is no constitutional right to vote. Great. That's what I said! Then you ignore your admission, and go on (in a Ratheresque fashion) to suggest that since minorities have a higher rate of drug felony charges/convictions than the general population, it is thus unconstitutional to restrict their vote because they are minorities. Huh????? Earth to Bad Tux... the restriction of their right to vote is based on their felony conviction, not their race. My comments were about the lack of a constitutional right to vote. YOU made it about race. It isn't about race. It's about there being NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 10:54:51 AM EST
    TL, BadTux made a great comment that provided the relevent info. in response to Claire's comment. Her insistance of her point after clearly being wrong and insulting BadTux, me and our comments (mostly by not reading them) is really beyond the pale. Do I really have to spend the time cutting and pasting what is already posted to clarify the record for the sake of "stimulating discussion"? Sulkily (*sigh* I suppose I'll get out the old 8.5 x 11 plain white ignore tool)

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 10:56:31 AM EST
    ...at least you could censor 'til she gets the site name right...

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 11:00:06 AM EST
    Bad Tux, I repeat - there is no constitutional right to vote. What strange logic you offer. Right off the bat, you play the race card. Since HL has already censored me several times, I suspect that if I counter your silly statement at any length, with simple logic and truth, this post will disappear. I'll take a chance - even though you probably won't see this DASTARDLY post. First you admit there is no constitutional right to vote. Great. That's what I said! Then you ignore your admission, and go on (in a Ratheresque fashion) to suggest that since minorities have a higher rate of drug felony charges/convictions than the general population, it is thus unconstitutional to restrict their vote because they are minorities. Huh????? Earth to Bad Tux... the restriction of their right to vote is based on their felony conviction, not their race. My comments were about the lack of a constitutional right to vote. YOU made it about race. It isn't about race. It's about there being NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE. If you can show me any constitutional right to vote, I will make a $1000 contribution to hardleft. I mean it. Anyone else can jump in here, too - same offer. Funny how it works on this blog. Someone disagrees with you - so they label you a RACIST or a TROLL, and then your comment disappears. End of debate!!!! Is this what HL stands for? That's exactly what Rush Limbaugh does!!!! He allows callers who support him to gush on... yet if someone debates a point with him, Rush cuts him off with the mute button and talks over him. Then when he's gone, they all talk about what the guy MEANT. (and what a lib/psycho he was) Hey, if you folks at hardleft don't want anyone to point out silly logic when it appears, then just ban me from your site, and go back to your dozen or so college kids who don't wouldn't know the Federalist Papers from the Magna Charta. (yes, google is handy, but it doesn't give you wisdom or intellect) What good is a constitution if no knows what it says? Is it trollish to state clearly and unequivically what it says/doesn't say? I think not. You kids could use some rational debate in your lives. Hard Left could be greatly improved by allowing mature, honest debate. There are a million blogs full of socialist college level idealism, using every logical fallacy on the list. How about rising above that?

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 12:18:55 PM EST
    Claire at February 17, 2005 12:00 PM that rants a 4, you get -1 because your a troll, -1 because your an a-string, and -4 because what you have failed to realize is, no one here gives a f___ about your opinion or what you believe. idealist enough for you. hardLeft is a moniker Iíve been using for some time so don't get me confused with the administrators/proprietors of this site, we are separate and unaffiliated entities.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 03:43:53 PM EST
    Obviously, hardleft, Claire can't even figure out the name of the site she's ranting on... possibly the word "talk" is not in her vocab. My five year old son is reading very well now. I just showed him the name of the site and he had no problem reading t..a..l..k l..e...f..t ! So much for your mature condescention, Claire. I've got a phone call in to Larry Tribe (look him up)re: the constitution vote thing. Check back in the a.m. if you dare, 'cause I'm holding you to your word.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 04:08:23 PM EST
    HL, Oops. Hey, your insults would carry more weight if you understood that "you're" means "you are". When you use "your" in place of "you're", it's hard to come off sounding intelligent. Not that there was any chance of that.... mfox, Yes, go study the constitution, then come back and report to us. In other words, research first, THEN TALK. I will be here waiting.

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 10:22:23 PM EST
    There's something I've noticed about the right wingnuts. You point them to source info that says they're wrong, and they get all huffy and insist that you didn't prove they're wrong because the source info doesn't say what it says. 15th Amendment clearly says: The right of citizens of the United States to vote ... Similarly, the 19th Amendment clearly says: The right of citizens of the United States to vote ... That is, the Constitution says not once, but *twice*, that voting is a right. So that's not in question. Voting is a right. Period. The Constitution says so, and has a blanket prohibition against taking away that right in certain cases (such as because of race, gender, or former condition of servitude). If it's a right, then it's covered by the 9th Amendment (which states that a right not in the first 8 amendments is still a right) and by the 14th Amendment, which states that no right may be taken from an American citizen except via due process of law. Now: The argument may be that being found guilty by a jury or judge is sufficient due process to justify taking away the right to vote even in cases where neither judge nor jury make any decision to that effect. Or the argument may be that the State may under the Constitution arbitrarily take away the right to vote using any criteria it wishes, as long as it is not one of the prohibited criteria (race and sex being the important ones). If that is the argument, then make it. But don't say that voting is not a right, because the clear language of the Constitution of the United States says otherwise. - Badtux the Constitutionalist Penguin BTW: When did right wing nutcases start hating the Constitution of the United States? Why do they love the 2nd Amendment, and hate the rest of it? Curious penguins want to know!

    Re: Study: 1.5M Felons Denied Right to Vote (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 11:49:13 PM EST
    Bad Tux, You need to read the complete sentence. There is no constitutional right to vote. States retain the right to deny the vote to anyone of their choosing, except for reasons of race or sex. One example is felons. The topic of the thread. Felons have no constitutional right to vote. Some states allow felons to vote. Some don't. Read the constitution. THEN lecture me.