The Disenfranchised: Non-Violent Felon Voting Rights – Update
Felon’s Voting Rights in the United States
During the election frenzy in November, PrisonPath.com discussed the heavy sanctions that restrict non-violent offenders after successful completion of their sentences. Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia has now announced new changes regarding non-violent felon’s voting rights. Among the changes, non-violent offenders will not have a two year waiting period before their civil rights are restored.
Over five million Americans are disenfranchised from voting even if the former inmates are again productive members of society who pay taxes. Several states do not restore the right to vote upon completion of the sentence. Thirteen states allow probationers and parolees the right to vote and nineteen states allow former inmates the right to vote upon completion of their sentence. Both Florida and Virginia were two of the four states that did not restore the right to vote to non-violent felons upon completion of their sentences last November. Now with the efforts of Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia is not one of the infamous four.
Prisonpath advocates that non-violent offenders should have their voting rights automatically restored upon release from prison.
SOURCES: ProCon.org, American Civil Liberties Union
The concentration of southeastern states in the highest number of felons who cannot vote is continuation of racism, Jim Crow, etc. I am surprised that South Carolina is not listed.
By Willie–They should have the right to vote. Here in Michigan ex-felons have the right to vote. I applaud Gov. McDonnell for giving non violent offender the right to vote. A lady friend of mine who lives in Norfolk Va was aiding ex-felons in their rights which included obtaining a driver licenses.
This is encouraging to me as I believe that all inmates, regardless of their crime, should have ALL of their Constitutional Rights restored to them imediately upon their release from prison. The Constitution applies to everybody! I also would like to see employers stop discriminating against people because of their past mistakes. Because when a person is released from prison and cannot get a good job, or even a place to live; he or she is tempted to return to their old ways just so they can get locked up again. The question of whether or not someone has ever… Read more »
By Pastor Bob–I would suggest that once some one has paid their debt to society, they need to be restored fully back into the community. While that should be a process and some issues are more serious than others, there needs to be light at the end of the tunnel. Bankruptcy was a new world solution to being generationally in debt. The needs to be a clean slate as long as the troubled individual wants one. We are moving more and more in the direction of permanent outcasts. That is a really bad idea. Freedom comes with risk.
By Gail–Considering the present out come of our elections I don’t know how much worse it could be. Look at candidates voting records on issues and more importantly, know the issues. I am disappointed in Americans moral values. We should care enough about our country to do our home word before voting. It’s not a popularity contest…or is it. Let em vote. I was just this morning telling a friend about the abilities of so many inmates.