Skip to main content

48 states in America prevent or impair felons and ex-felons from their right to vote as guaranteed by the 15th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are talking about hundreds of thousand of individuals who cannot vote ...

48 states in America prevent or impair felons and ex-felons from their right to vote as guaranteed by the 15th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are talking about hundreds of thousand of individuals who cannot vote That amendment states:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

While, the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870; a direct legacy of the Radical Republicans (my favorite American political party), was primarily intended to prevent blacks from voting, the language is clear. When the language is unambiguous, then legislative intent is irrelevant. The only question is, does an ex-felon or felon qualify as having previously been in a condition of previous servitude .
Read more about the issues at .

Originally posted to 2conconORG on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:49 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  yes, this has always bothered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    me, as a non-us ciitizen. i'm glad it's being looked at...

  •  No it isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    varro, cn4st4datrees

    But I agree that baring ex-felons is a mistake.  I like Oregon's law, if you're currently imprisoned on a felony conviction, you can't vote but once you're out you can.  Avoids the risk of purges like happened in FL...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

  •  There's a reason they bar a lot of felons (0+ / 0-)

    They're disproportionately black or a Hispanic minority.

    Which means they won't vote Republican. So there's little incentive for guys like Charlie Crist or Jeb Bush before him to change that.

    If I recall, in fact, Jeb Bush was very proactive in making sure that no felon anywhere ever slipped onto a voting list. Probably for that reason.

    "Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up..." - Barack Obama.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:55:06 AM PDT

  •  I don't think servitude is the correct argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, cn4st4datrees

    Arrest and conviction remove rights (like freedom) and, upon complete adjudication from the criminal justice system, they are restored with certain, limited exceptions (gun ownership, e.g.).

    Denying the vote to felons is more like the poll tax or intelligence tests used to minimize the voting rights of the underprivileged and minorities, IMHO.  The same kind of federal effort that ended this discrimination will have to be used for ex-felons.

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:03:28 AM PDT

  •  I just spoke this weekend to an ex-felon. (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't know about his past at the time.  We were just talking about things in general, and I asked if he was registered to vote.  That's when he said no, he couldn't vote, because he's an ex-felon.

    This just bugs the crap out of me.  What ever happened to the notion of "having paid your debt to society"?

    To me, once you're off probation or on parole, you've paid your debt; you have no further time to serve as long as you keep your nose clean.  Why then should you remain disenfranchised from engaging in the democratic system?  It's just plain wrong.

    I understand that these laws (prohibiting ex-felons from voting) are probably intended to act as deterrents -- commit the crime, forever lose your right to vote.  But we see how well certain laws act as deterrents, don't we?  I mean, with the death penalty back in place, almost no murders are occurring in this country, are there?

    Laws prohibiting ex-felons from voting are archaic, and should be repealed.

    If we're not willing to boldly refute the lies, the lies will stand as truth. (-6.75, -6.72)

    by cn4st4datrees on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:03:48 AM PDT

  •  The practice sets (0+ / 0-)

    my teeth on edge.

    My state gets many (many, many, many!) things, wrong, but in Illinois, the franchise is only barred if you are actively incarcerated.

    A huge part of my job is working with the ex-offender population and one of the things I hammer home repeatedly is,

    "If you don't like the law as it has been explained to you, it's your job to change it!  GOTV"

    John McCain = George W. Bush - shorter, uglier and a $hitload meaner!

    by luvsathoroughbred on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:07:00 AM PDT

  •  The 14th amendment (0+ / 0-)

    specifically allows disenfranchisement for "participation in rebellion, or other crime".

    "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes." - Lewis Carroll

    by Dave1955 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:11:47 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site