There were some discussions among Republicans recently about whether ex-felons should be able to vote. Rick Santorum favored allowing felons to vote after they’ve served their prison sentences. Mitt Romney said he didn’t think people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again. You won’t hear me say this much, but I agree with Santorum.
I used to believe ex-felons should have the right to vote restored because they had served their time. NOW, I believe ex-felons should have the right to vote restored because not doing so essentially criminalizes them for life, making any chance of reintegration into society even more difficult, possibly aggravating the recidivism problem.
Also, if a law is unfair or unjust – that HAS been known to happen – those who might have been convicted under it would have no real say in overturning it. This article addresses that aspect, and shows that NOT allowing them to vote isn’t even a common position among the states; adding restrictions would be a retrograde move.
And not all crimes are equal. A 19-year-old guy having sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend could get him on a sex offender list as a felon in some states. Chaos at an Occupy demonstration could give someone a permanent police record.
What do you think? What is the possible benefit of disenfranchising a whole class of people? Even Santorum notes its racial aspect.