Last updated on: 3/7/2014 | Author:

Are Felons More Likely to Vote for Democrats over Republicans?

PRO (yes)


Marc Meredith, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Business Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Michael Morse, Research Fellow at Stanford Law School, stated the following in their Nov. 18, 2013 article “Do Voting Rights Notification Laws Increase Ex-Felon Turnout?,” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science:

“[In New York] ex-felons who are registered overwhelmingly register as Democrats. Of those discharge records that match to at least one voter file record, 61.5 percent match only to Democratic voter records. In contrast, 25.5 percent match only to voter records with no affiliation or an affiliation with a minor party, while 9 percent match only to Republican voter records…

[R]egistered ex-felons in New Mexico tend to be overwhelmingly Democrat: 51.9 percent match to only registered Democrats, 18.9 percent match to only registered Republicans, 21.7 percent match to only individuals registered neither as Democrats nor Republicans, and 7.5 percent match to multiple individuals who affiliate with different parties”

Nov. 18, 2013 - Michael Morse Marc Meredith, PhD


George F. Will, PhD, Contributing Editor at Newsweek, stated the following in his Mar. 13, 2005 article “Give the Ballot to Felons?”:

“Sentimentalism and cold calculation combine to make felons’ voting attractive to liberals. They know that criminals often come from disadvantaging circumstances and think such circumstances are the ‘root causes’ of criminality. As for the calculation, it is indelicate to say but indisputably true: most felons – not all; not those, for example, from Enron’s executive suites – are Democrats. Or at least were they to vote, most would vote Democratic.”

Mar. 13, 2005 - George F. Will, PhD


Marty Connors, while Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, stated in an Aug. 18, 2004 Washington Post article by Kevin Krajick titled “Why Can’t Ex-Felons Vote?”:

“As frank as I can be, we’re opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don’t tend to vote Republican.”

Aug. 18, 2004 - Marty Connors


Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, PhD, Senior Scholar at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California (USC), stated in the article “Study Criticizes Laws on Felon Voting, Democrats, Blacks Hurt, Analysis Says,” by Gregory Lewis, published Aug. 25, 2004 in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“With an election so close, anything that can help your party is good. Sadly, a disproportionate number of felons are African-American and tend to vote Democratic.”

Aug. 25, 2004 - Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, PhD


The Washington Times wrote in a Mar. 8, 2005 editorial titled “Felons and Democratic Politicking”:

“The bill… would mandate felon voting across the country, regardless of state law.

The bill shows that Democrats are more interested in the potential voting bloc than what the Constitution allows or what Americans actually want…

If Congress passes the bill [The Count Every Vote Act of 2005, which failed to pass], Democratic electoral gains would be an estimated 1.2 million new voters.”

Mar. 8, 2005 - Washington Times

CON (no)


Paul Berendt, former Washington State Democratic Party Chairman, was quoted in the May 7, 2005 article “Democrats Flag 743 Votes They Say Felons Cast,” published in the Seattle Times:

“We know for a fact that nonunion, blue-collar, Caucasian men vote very disproportionately Republican, and when you look at the felon population in the state of Washington, they are overwhelmingly nonunion, blue-collar, male Caucasians.”

May 7, 2005 - Paul Berendt


Joseph Agostini, former Florida Republican Party spokesman, stated in the article “Study Criticizes Laws on Felon Voting, Democrats, Blacks Hurt, Analysis Says,” by Gregory Lewis, published Aug. 25, 2004 in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“It’s very insulting to assume felons are Democrats. You can’t assume how they would vote or that they will even register to vote.”

Aug. 25, 2004 - Joseph Agostini


Tara Huffman (formerly Tara Andrews), JD, Executive Director of Justice Maryland, stated in a Jan. 24, 2006 Washington Times article by S.A. Miller titled “Measure Restores Vote to All Felons; Democrats Say the Time is Right”:

“Mr. Ehrlich [Republican governor of Maryland], whose criminal justice reforms already have won kudos from black leaders such as hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, could attract the felon vote by not vetoing the bill. That’s a very real possibility.”

Jan. 24, 2006 - Tara Huffman, JD