A Man with a Flashlight

Florida restores some felons’ voting rights
April 6, 2007, 10:54 am
Filed under: Crime and Punishment, Politics

Here. A step in the right direction, but, I think, incomplete – most murderers and sex offenders will still have no vote.
I have no wish to defend the crimes they committed, but this is bad for the felons and bad for society. There are two reasons. One, the prison sentence a criminal serves is intended to pay off his debt to society. That is the basis for deciding how long it should be. When the penalty is finished, the state should not continue to discriminate.
Secondly, denying the vote creates a class of sub-citizens, and this is unbecoming of a democracy. Whatever they have done, these people live among us. Denying them the vote suggests that a criminal, even if he chooses to leave crime behind, can never re-enter society.

In case you think this issue is of little consequence, according to this 2004 piece in the Washington Post if felons had had voting rights, Bush would have lost Florida in 2000.

Now that would make a great episode of Quantum Leap.

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