Felon Voting
Pros and Cons
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Should felons who have completed their sentence (incarceration, probation, and parole) be allowed to vote?
Should felons who have completed their sentence (incarceration, probation, and parole) be allowed to vote?
An estimated 5.85 million people (as of 2010) with a felony conviction are barred from voting in elections - a condition known as disenfranchisement. Each state has its own laws on disenfranchisement. While Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison, nine other states permanently restrict certain felons from voting.

Proponents of felon re-enfranchisement say that felons who have paid their debt to society by completing their sentences should have all of their rights and privileges restored. They argue that efforts to block ex-felons from voting are unfair, undemocratic, and politically or racially motivated.

Opponents say felon voting restrictions are consistent with other voting limitations such as age, residency, sanity, etc., and other felon restrictions such as no guns for violent offenders and no sex offenders near schools. They say that convicted felons have demonstrated poor judgment and should not be trusted with a vote.

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Felon Voting ProCon.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit website that presents research, studies, and pro and con statements on questions related to whether or not felons should be allowed to vote.

Individuals and organizations that believe felons should not be re-enfranchised until they have paid all fines and restitution (in addition to having completed their term of incarceration and probation/parole) will be classified as Not Clearly Pro or Con.

Individuals and organizations that support re-enfranchisement of some categories of felons (after incarceration and probation/parole) and the disenfranchisement of other categories of felons (after incarceration and probation/parole) will also be classified as Not Clearly Pro or Con.


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Notices for Felon Voting and Other ProCon.org Information (archived after 30 days)

9/26/2014 Interactive Map of State Felon Voting Laws - Two states allow felons to vote from prison while 11 other states may permanently ban felons from voting.  Our new interactive map shows each state's felon voting law broken down into five different categories.

9/10/2014  NEW ProCon.org Website! – Should students have to wear school uniforms? - Our 51st website explores the pros and cons in the debate over mandatory school uniforms. Almost one in five US public schools required students to wear uniforms during the 2011-2012 school year, up from one in eight in 2003-2004. Proponents say that school uniforms make schools safer for students, create a "level playing field" that reduces socioeconomic disparities, and encourage children to focus on their studies rather than their clothes. Opponents say school uniforms infringe upon students' right to express their individuality, have no positive effect on behavior and academic achievement, and emphasize the socioeconomic disparities they are intended to disguise.

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Last updated on 9/26/2014 1:01:26 PM PST

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