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Serve Your Time in Prison, Then You Can Vote

| March 17, 2014 | 1 Comment
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"Once felons have served their time, they should get back their right to vote." Tweet by @newtechtrinity

“Once felons have served their time, they should get back their right to vote.”
Tweet by @newtechtrinity

Should the right to vote be a privilege to law abiding citizens only? Last week, students discussed whether or not felons should be given the opportunity to vote while in prison or after their sentence in our #DoNowVoter post. We asked students, Most states don’t allow prisoners to vote, and some even permanently disenfranchise felons after their release. Should felons have the right to vote, and at what point?

Recently, United States Attorney General Eric Holder urged states to change their voting rights laws, by restoring the right to vote to felons after being released from prison. States implement their own voting laws, meaning while some states allow felons to vote after prison, other states such as Florida and Arizona permanently take the right away from them. Currently, around 5.8 million Americans, which is 2.5 percent of the nation’s voting age population, refuse the right to vote based on their criminal activity.

Throughout the week, students debated back and forth on the topic. Many pointed to the fact that voting is a constitutional right for all citizens, yet some argued that we cannot trust felons to make decisions for society. While many students agreed that felons should have the right to vote, it should only apply to those who are released from prison.

It’s in the Constitution!

Many students argued that voting is a right for all citizens, including felons.

But They Broke the Law!

Others argued that since they broke the law, they should not be given the power to make decisions.

No Vote is Part of the Punishment

Some students specifically argued that the right to vote should be revoked while in prison.

We Should Give a Second Chance to Some Felons

Students discussed that one time offenders can get a second chance and should be allowed to vote.

Felons Can Vote If…

Many students proposed felons can vote after a wait period or by proving they are good citizens.

Is Racism Involved?

Some students researched some compelling statistics about those who aren’t able to vote.

Also, listen to Spencer Haddock’s voki he created in response to this week’s post.

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Category: Do Now Round-Ups

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About the Author ()

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.
  • Jason

    I think that everyone should have a chance to vote. Just because they broke the law, it doesn’t mean that there opinion doesn’t count. The criminal can either vote now, or when he/she gets out of prison; they will be able to vote at some point.