Last updated on: 4/25/2008 | Author:

Other Than Felons, Who Else Can Be Prevented from Voting?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Congressional Quarterly stated in its 1985 “Guide to U.S. Elections”:

“[B]y the two hundredth anniversary of the nation, the only remaining restrictions [on the voting franchise] prevented voting by the insane, convicted felons, and otherwise eligible voters who were unable to meet short residence requirements.”

1985 - Congressional Quarterly

The Sentencing Project stated in a Nov. 2005 report by Alec Ewald, “A ‘Crazy-Quilt’ of Tiny Pieces: State and Local Administration of American Criminal Disenfranchisement,” that:

“The commonly-used term ‘felon disenfranchisement’ is not entirely accurate, since at least five states – Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, and Maryland – also formally bar some or all people convicted of misdemeanors from voting.

It is likely that misdemeanants in other states who do retain the formal right to vote could have difficulty exercising that right, given the ignorance of their eligibility and the lack of clear rules and procedures for absentee voting by people in jail who have not been convicted of a felony.

Maryland excludes persons convicted of many misdemeanors, such as ‘Unlawful operation of vending machines,’ ‘Misrepresentation of tobacco leaf weight,’ and Racing horse under false name.'”

Nov. 2005 - Sentencing Project

Jamin Raskin, JD, Professor of Constitutional Law and Director of the Program on Law & Government at American University Washington College of Law, stated in his Spring 2005 article “Lawful Disenfranchisement: America’s Structural Democracy Deficit,” published in Human Rights magazine, that:

“More than 4 million American citizens live in the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and none have the right to vote for president or have any voting representation in Congress. The several million U.S. citizens living in the territories subject to the sovereignty of Congress under the Territorial Clause, U.S. CONST. art. IV, § 3, cl. 2, solely have nonvoting delegates in the House. The largest contingent lives in Puerto Rico, home to roughly 3.8 million people…

More than 570,000 taxpaying U.S. citizens live in the District of Columbia and lack any voting representation in Congress. They pay more federal taxes per capita than the residents of every state but Connecticut and are fighting in Iraq right now. Under the terms of the Twenty-Third Amendment, D.C. residents can vote in presidential elections. Yet they have been continually frustrated in efforts to recover the voting representation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that was lost in 1800 when Congress passed the Organic Act.”

Spring 2005 - Jamin Raskin, JD

The Right To Vote Campaign’s Field Director Monifa Bandele stated during a June 20, 2006 forum on “Felon Disenfranchisement: Costs and Consequences,” that:

“5.3 million people are legally disenfranchised; that number doubles when we talk about noncompliance in states where people are allowed to vote but essentially prevented from doing so because they are asked to present nonexistent documents, or are incorrectly told they do not have the right, or where there is widespread ignorance of the laws even among elections administrators.”

2006 - Right to Vote Campaign