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Should felons be allowed to vote?

5004 Views 134 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  BanditFlyer
I believe it is of vital importance that felons be allowed to vote. If a person is subjected to the laws, he/she should have a right to have as much input in the making of the laws as can be afforded.

Our laws do not do enough at this time to afford equal and adaquate defenses in criminal trails. A poor person gets a court appointed attorney, the attorney is appointed by the judge. The defense attorney and prosecutor attorney along with the judge choose the jury. Therefore, if the judge is biased and has reason, the defense attorney, and jury can be slanted toward the prosecutors side. Furthermore, the judge allots the time in which a defense attorney can be allowed to speak, effectively weakening the defense. In the state of Texas, it is common for the judge to allot 30 minutes time for the defense in a death penalty crime. Rights, and the defense of rights, are for those who can afford them.

it was once one of the basic precepts of our system of justice that it is better to free 10 guilty men than to allow one innocent man to rot in jail.
If innocents are inprisoned, what rights to change the system that prosecuted them do they have?
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IN our sysytem of justice, once a person has served thier time, then their debt to society has been paid. To remove the voting rights, either permanently, or in some cases, until a felon can petition the court for reinstatement is ludicrous. the fundamental right that we are afforded is the right to vote. this enables us to decide who are leaders will be and what laws will be enacted, it is our "voice" in running this nation. If this right is taken away, then we are allowing people who will be held captive to someone else's whims. Honestly, I believe that prisoners in jail should be allowed to vote, because they are at the direct mercy of those that have power over them. we can argue that under social contract theory, that once the contract is broken, it cannot be meneded. I don't believe in this view of SC theory. I don't understand what the harm would be for allowing felons to vote, if it punishment, then wouldn't it be considered execessive? If its punitive, then I disagree with it even more.
now I could give a rats behind about counsel in this matter, that is a seperate matter, but to take away a voice in democracy is a destruction of democracy itself.
Ouch, I fell off my high horse.
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LANMaster said:
You make a compelling argument, AK.

You may even convince me that once someone has FULLY paid their debt to society, then perhaps they should be allowed to remove that stigma and be allowed to vote.

But ;)

To suggest that a Convicted Felon, serving time for breaking the law, should be allowed to affect the outcome of a political contest is ludicris.
Naturally the majority of those incarcerated would vote for the candidate most likely to be soft on crime, thereby making it easier for the criminal to return to a life of crime once the debt has been paid.
Nope, Felons lose the rights free society has, because Felons deny those rights to others.
Darnit LAN, its IK, not AK!!! :D
I think you are making a broad assumption. I go to the federal prison here in Ft. Worth and counsel inmates on employment matters once they are released. I have yet to see one say they are innocent, or were framed, in fact most will tell you that they made a mistake and used poor judgement, and will take responsibilty for their crimes.
This is a small percentage of the population, I doubt it would influence anything, except maybe local elections against the sheriff. :D
Most politicians would not even associate with them, it would not be in their best interest, but allowing them to vote at least gives felons the belief that they are WORTH something when they get out. They are already at a huge disadvantage employment-wise, when they get out, and I do not see the rationalization for this. Where is the direct threat to democracy. In fact, I would say that we strengthen our country by allowing everyone that is able to vote, to vote, even criminals. What would that tell teh world about democracy and our standards of society.
Voting is never a privilage, it is a RIGHT!
Darn, I broke my soapbox. :(
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Hey PL,
I know where you are going with Meghans law, sex offender registration. I do work with Sex offenders, and as a father, I know the dangers that can happen, but I do not agree with those laws, depending on what day you catch me. I could argue that in order to continually protect the society, SO registration ios necessary, but it can also cause a lynch mob to form. However, what would be the danger of allowing SO's to vote? Worst case scenario, the US first NAMBLA backed candidate. Buit that doesn't mean anything will change.
LANMaster said:
Sorry, IK. I edited my last to change your name. :D

Taking away voting rights is part of the punishment for committing a felony.
Once the Felon has FULLY paid his debt to society, I would suggest that you are correct and that the right to vote should be returned.
It is about punishment. Some might even consider it a deterrant.
But while an inmate is serving time for a felony, he/she should NOT have the right to vote, IMO.

Currently, once convicted of a felony, you lose the right to vote perminently. Is that correct?
I believe it is state to state matter. One state may allow for the resumption of rights after a time. This article shows that Florida has a law that removes those rights.
plschwartz said:
I wasn't going anywhere in particular with meghans (thanks for the "h") law.
I spent mucho years in a NYstate psychiatric hospital so we know similar folks.
I was going to finish my above post with something smart to say about felons and ostracism, except that I found that in Athens where the term came,after 10 years of exile the returnee got his rights back. (BTW I do think that exile should be an alternative to prison but thats for another time) ( presents an interesting time-line of punishments.
There is the idea I think of those being ousted by the
community for a major breach of its mores. The earlier idea of felony included grievious attacks against person as murder rape and major assault. They were then outside the law or out-laws. I believe felons were often branded to prevent them gaining access to another lawful community
There is an old greek idea (too long to remember how to spell) that when something got too one-sided it began to bring in its opposite. To me Meghans law represents just this. Punishment is in effect life-long and is an exclusion from any community with computerized branding.
It is of interest that this seems more severe then the punishment for child murder. Hmmm.

Finally voting restriction seems not to be the only restiction on felons. Is it not a crime for felons to "consort" with other felons?
Another Civ Deb thread going the way it was originally intended with no flames or name calling. Quick, someone piss me off. :D :D :D

Finally voting restriction seems not to be the only restiction on felons. Is it not a crime for felons to "consort" with other felons?
I think it only apply's when you are on probation or parole? However, no guns.
Sorry folks, I guess I did kind of lead us off track when I turned and said we should allow felons to vote while incarecerated, which I think we should, because they are at the direct mercy of ALL facets of the government. But still, this thread is moving quite well, although I will ask this one simple question:
What is the inherent danger or harm for allowing someone in prison or in jail, or being an ex-offender, to vote? Bsides it being a form of punishment, de facto, unlike gun ownership, which has a public safety concern, where is the harm? :)
AcaCandy said:
Pobresita mija. :down:
bassetman said:
As far as felons voting I think if they can work in the White House they might as well vote for the President. Afterall its not like the vote actually counts anymore anyway! :D
IN a mixed up, round about, Bizarro-world way, given the fact that if someone has been in prison they can't vote, and we applied our system to the world, Nelson Mandela wouldn't be allowed to vote or run for office. And before anyone says he was a political prisoner, he was still convicted by a SA court.
bassetman said:
I don't see anything I said that conflicts with your statement and premise! ;)

Candy! :up:
Baasetman, I wasn't disagreeing with you at all, in fact I laughed at it. :D
slickoe said:
Should felons vote? Depends. Simple cocaine possession , even trace amounts, is a felony. So is a rape slaying. We need to prioritize. Do you realize if you sell a cop one doobie in a car your car will be confiscated but if you rape and kill a girl in it you can theorically have it waiting for you in a few decades when you are paroled? Drug crimes are political crimes, and drug criminals are political prisoners. The G has no right telling you or me what to do with our bodies. We can Scubadive, sky dive, (very hazardous), but we can't grow a pot plant in our backyard, if we do we are felons, we can't vote and will likely lose the house. Sheesh. Violent felons should lose voting rights, as well as alot of other rights, and drunk drivers (even first timers) should lose their license FOREVER.
Drig crimes are politcal crimes yada yada yada.
If you don't like it, change the laws. That is if you can remoev the bong long enough from your mouth and have a coherent thought.
What a load of...
Scuabdive, skydive doesn't affect ANYONE but you. However, drugs do permeate a society and cause more harm for SOCIETY than the individual with increased crime rates, loss of productivity, and a drain on services.
but tell me, you still problably think that it is safer to drive while stoned than while drunk.

As far as votes, lets think about this, and while use the fact that there is amazing statistics on African Americans in prison or with felony convictions, I believe a third, or some obnoxious number like that. Well if they can't vote, and there really is no reason not to except for some lame attempt to continue to label or punish someone, you have eroded the voting abilites of a large minority.
For absolutely no reson.
gbrumb said:
Most drug felony laws don't have a forfeiture component. Another example of media hype distorting reality. Most forfeiture statutes are federal which, when compared to state prosecution of drug felonies, amount to an extremely small percentage. The feds are looking for KingPins not some schmuck with a joint in his pocket (feel safer now Wino?). Forfeiture statutes are equitable in nature to avoid a demand for a jury trial. Because they are equitable in nature they are civil not criminal.
:) :)

p.s. Did you read my reply to you on the pledge thread? :)
slickoe said:
You better watch it there, pard. I know you're a Texan but that's no excuse. I haven't hit a bong in over 10 years (or had a drink in 7) and show me one incoherent thought I have EVER posted here. If you're done with personal insults, people who break their necks skydiving or riding a crotch rocket without a helmet ARE a drain on society, have you ever been to a convalescent home? Increased crime rates? Because they are illegal in the first place, duh. Drain on services? Alcohol is the most socially devastaing drug in America. Responsible for more murders, violence, domestic abuse, etc. And BTW everyone (except you) knows it IS safer to drive stoned then drunk. You drive slower but you aren't all over the damn road. And you dodged my question. Why are small time drug criminals geting their property confiscated while killers and rapists aren't?
Maybe you should hit it... :D (JK)

And NEITHER is safer.

Last time I checked, to answer your question about forfeitures, there was very little monetary gain in raping and killing.

But it is interesting that you bring up helmet laws, isn't that the reason why we have them, so people don't become a drain on society, but then again, i guess if someone strokes out and becomes a zucchini from smoking heroin or crack, he was only hurting himself.
Lets say drugs were legal, it isn't going to change anything. You would still be addicted and probably couldn't hold down a job, so you wouldn't have any money, so what are you going to pay with to feed your addiction?
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