A lot of things start to change in your life after pleading guilty to a crime. One of those things is the possible loss of your voting rights, and debates have been going on with respect to why felons should not be disenfranchised.
For a convicted felon, only two states and the District of Columbia will retain the right to vote. Others will bar felons from voting, but things tend to change when they get released.
The majority of states that have barred felons from voting will reinstate their voting rights. But there are still others that retain the ban or only lift it based on certain conditions. This has led to mass disenfranchisement, but many people feel it is well deserved because of a felon’s past crimes.
Opinions on whether felons should be allowed to vote
A person that has committed a crime is still a citizen of the country. The laws and leadership of the nation will not stop affecting them, whether they are in or out of jail. This is one of the reasons why most people are of the opinion that felons should be allowed to vote.
On the other hand, those who feel felons should have a ban on their voting rights see things from a different angle. They believe that if such a tough law were applied to felons, it would reduce the crime rate. They also believe it is an appropriate punishment for crime, even after jail. But are felons still not citizens?
Voting is a citizen’s fundamental right. And whatever mistakes they have made in the past should not affect their ability to choose a leader.
Why should felons be allowed to vote?
- People who have served jail time have fully paid the price for their crimes. So banning them from voting feels unfair and will discourage them from blending into society—which can lead them back to crime.
- Those in prison should also be allowed to vote because they will be affected by the leadership of whoever comes into power. It is not right for someone to not have a choice about something that will directly affect them (prison laws).
- A felon that is on parole should also be allowed to vote because the parole board has deemed them worthy. So if they can be released back into society, they should be given a chance to choose who will lead them.
- People should not lose their voting rights if they are yet to pay fines attached to their convictions. This looks like some kind of “poll tax,” and no one should have to pay in order to vote.
Felons already go through so much discrimination, and the loss of their voting rights is only making things worse. All states should give felons the basic freedom that a citizen should enjoy even if they are behind bars—the freedom to choose their leader.