Opponents of giving voting rights to ex-felons may debate on when, if ever, they should be allowed to vote. Some people say there should be a certain time frame involved before rights are restored. Others believe felons who have committed serious crimes should never be allowed to vote.
Here are six reasons they give on why ex-felons shouldn't vote:
Ex-prisoners have demonstrated dishonesty and irresponsibility in their character by committing a crime, especially a serious crime and have forfeited their right to vote.
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Consequences result from committing crimes that violate the rights of others. A segment of the population prone to criminal behavior needs to understand that criminal violations have consequences.
Children, non-citizens and the mentally incompetent can't vote because of standards involving trustworthiness and responsibility. The same requirements should apply to felons, according to an article written by Roger Clegg in the Center for Equal Opportunity.
Although a restoration of voting rights is proper, it should not be automatic and done carefully on a case-by-case basis, he noted. Those who commit serious crimes have not shown trustworthiness.
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The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which addresses equal protection under the law, does not always pertain to felons and ex-felons, according to Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski in dissent of a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 2006. Although racial, gender and reproductive rights have been upheld under the amendment, felonious crimes allow lawmakers to introduce felon disenfranchisement laws.
Ex-felons should demonstrate they are willing to abide by the law during a certain time period before they are allowed to vote again, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Although restoration of voting rights helps offenders return to the society, it should be done carefully, he said. Public safety and incentives for an ex-felon to avoid future crimes should be considered.
The crimes committed by ex-felons don't just involve injustice to one party, but include actions against the entire society, proponents of felon disenfranchisement point out. Including voting rights as part of an ex-felon's reintroduction into society doesn't explain why past crimes were committed in the first place, attorney George Brooks wrote in a 2005 article for the Fordham Urban Law Journal.
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