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)

1/28/2015 - Jail, Prison, Parole, and Probation Populations in the US, 1980-2013 - The total correctional population in the US grew from 1,840,400 in 1980 to 6,899,000 in 2013.  In 1980 there were 319,598 people in prison, and by 2013 that population had expanded to 1,574,700 inmates. See the trends in various US correctional populations over the last 30 years in our new chart and graph.

1/28/2015 - Incarcerated Felon Population by Type of Crime Committed, 1974-2012 - US state and federal prisons housed a total of 1,511,497 inmates as of 2012. In state prisons, 53.8% of the prisoners were convicted of violent crimes, while in federal prisons 56.0% were convicted of drug-related offenses.  Our updated chart shows statistics for all categories of crime.

1/26/2015 Updated stats, pros, and cons on felon disenfranchisement and race – Get updated statistics on the US prison population by race and gender. Plus you can read pro and con statements from US Attorney General Eric Holder (pro); Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (con); Washington Post editorial board (pro); Wall Street Journal editorial board (con); and others in response to our question "Are felon disenfranchisement laws a form of racial discrimination?"

1/23/2015 - 101 Books Cited ProCon.org in 2014 – a 48.5% Increase over 2013 – Authors who have cited ProCon.org in the past include Glenn Beck, Mark Bittman, Newt Gingrich, Stefan Halper, Dick Morris, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Schmoker, Tavis Smiley, and Joseph Stiglitz.

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1/9/2015 - 50 Famous Quotes about Critical Thinking - Read illustrated quotes about critical thinking from Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other famous thinkers from Aristotle to Howard Zinn.

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Last updated on 1/28/2015 12:43:21 PM PST

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