It is election year again and America is warming up for the usual race between the democrats and the republicans. As usual there are always some controversial issues that need to be ironed out before the polls. One of these issues is the felon voting. ACLU (para 1) has it that about 1. 4 million Americans will forfeit their voting rights simply because they are convicted felons or had been convicted before. These Jim Crow have been in existence for over 100 years, barring many from exercising their constitutional rights. If these rules were lifted, there would be both positive and negative impacts as discussed below.
On the positive note, felon voting would give many of the African- Americans and other minority groups the chance to make a political influence in their communities (Shorland para 4). Its known that majority of the felons come from these minority groups which are already discriminated against due the racial background. Preventing them from voting is another nail into their coffin, putting them away from any meaningful political participation. This is wrong and should never be the case. The people should be allowed to help their communities and neighborhoods move their political interests and this only comes through voting.
Felon voting also allows the individual to exercise their constitutional rights. As Delcour observes, the rules against felon voting often hinder even the past convicts from voting (para 6). This does not make any sense since the past convicts have already paid their debt to the society by serving their full term. It, therefore, beats logic to continue making these people pay for mistakes that they have already been punished for. By all means this is unfair and should not be propagated by a just society. After all, it costs much more to bar the people from voting as the exclusion procedures can be very lengthy and tiring logistic-wise (Democracy Ghosts para. 4).
It is well known that there are always the two sides of a con. As the essay argues that the felons should be allowed to vote, there are also the negatives associated with it. One of these is that the felons are likely to vote for pro-crime legislations (Democracy Ghosts para. 8). This happens as the felons seek to create a safe haven for themselves and their accomplices. Such malicious and selfish intentions could be harming to the general society as it can compromise the safety of many as well as the integrity of democracy. For this reason, many states in the U. S are wary of giving voting rights to the felons, since it involves taking a risk that can very easily backfire on the entire society.
Another back-drop of allowing the felons to vote is that no one can actually have a vote of confidence in the integrity of their character. As such, they are seen as untrustworthy people who might vote with the wrong motives in mind. After all, if they had done something to harm the society once, what can hinder them from repeating it once again? (ACLU para 4). This implies that allowing them to vote can be equated to making a step that is not well thought, and one that the state can live to regret.
Besides the above positives and negatives of felon voting, it can be said that the jurisdiction over the issue lies with the states themselves. While some do not allow even the past convicts to participate in the polls, others allow even those currently in prison to exercise this democratic right. Well, this essay takes the position that the states should do what they deem right; hoping for the best results but always prepared for the worst scenario.
ACLU. Voter Disfranchisement. American Civil Liberty Unions, 2012. Web, 25th July 2012, http://www. aclu. org/voting-rights/voter-disfranchisement
Delcour, Julie. Pros and Cons: Should Felons be Allowed to Vote? Tulsa World, June, 27th, 2010. Web, 25th July 2012, http://www. tulsaworld. com/opinion/article. aspx? subjectid= 214&articleid= 20100627_214_G1_Thisel730392
Democracy Ghosts. Why Should Felons Vote? ACLU, 2012. Web, 25th July 2012, http://www. democracysghosts. org/whyfelonsvote/whyfelonsvote. html
Shorland, Alyse. Poll: Should Felons be Allowed to Vote After Serving Their Sentences? CNN, January 18th, 2012. Web, 25th July 2012, http://inamerica. blogs. cnn. com/2012/01/18/poll-should-felons-be-allowed-to-vote-after-serving-their-sentences/