Last updated on: 8/6/2021 | Author: ProCon.org

Should People with Felony Convictions Who Are out of Prison but on Parole or Probation Regain Their Right to Vote?

PRO (yes)

Pro

Daniel O’Donnell, JD, New York Assemby Member (D), as quoted by Matt Vasilogambros in a June 1, 2021 article, “More States Expand the Ballot to Previously Incarcerated,” available at pewtrusts.org, stated:

“If you’re living your life on parole, you’re leading a law-abiding life,” said Democratic Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell, the New York bill’s sponsor. “If you’re leading a law-abiding life, you should be able to vote.”

June 1, 2021

Pro

Barack Obama, JD, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in his July 14, 2015 speech “Remarks by the President at the NAACP Conference,” available at the White House website:

“[O]n Thursday, I will be the first sitting President to visit a federal prison. And I’m going to shine a spotlight on this issue, because while the people in our prisons have made some mistakes – and sometimes big mistakes – they are also Americans, and we have to make sure that as they do their time and pay back their debt to society that we are increasing the possibility that they can turn their lives around… if folks have served their time, and they’ve reentered society, they should be able to vote.”

July 14, 2015 - Barack Obama, JD

Pro

Ludovic Blain, Associate Director of the Democracy Program at Demos, stated in a May 9, 2005 Demos press release from titled “ACLU-New Jersey Study Reveals Faulty Administration Of Voter Disfranchisement Laws; Thousands Denied Right To Vote”:

“And all American citizens, regardless of whether they are on probation or parole, should have a right to vote and then be strongly encouraged to exercise it.”

May 9, 2005 - Ludovic J. Blain, II

Pro

Jeff Manza, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, and Christopher Uggen, PhD, Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota stated in their 2006 book Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy:

“Nonincarcerated felons are living in their communities so that they may retain (in the case of probationers) or rebuild (in the case of parolees) their ties to their families, employers, and their communities. If they are politically disenfranchised, nonincarcerated felons are denied participation in the political process that governs them in their daily lives.

Allowing them to reestablish ties as stakeholders in political life provides an analogous and important reintegrative purpose… We therefore favor reenfranchising probationers and parolees.”

2006 - Christopher Uggen, PhD Jeff Manza, PhD

CON (no)

Con

Jenny Graham, Washington State Representative (R), as quoted by Matt Vasilogambros in a June 1, 2021 article, “More States Expand the Ballot to Previously Incarcerated,” available at pewtrusts.org, stated:

“Beyond voting rights, first comes responsibility. When somebody makes a decision to harm or kill another individual, there is accountability that is due [including completion of parole and probation].”

June 1, 2021

Con

Diane Tebelius, JD, Former Washington State Republican Party Chairwoman, stated in a Jan. 24, 2007 article by Carrie Shaw titled “Week Two of Democrats’ Agenda in Olympia: More Voting Felons, Taxpayer Funded Campaigns and Christmas Lights,” published on the website of the Washington State Republican Party:

“The only restriction in this bill [HB1473] appears to be total incarceration. That means anyone under house arrest, out on parole, or individuals who owe restitution to their victims can vote. That is the wrong direction to take the law.

Week two of the Democrats’ election reform agenda is to make sure to count as many felon votes as you can!”

Jan. 24, 2007 - Diane Tebelius, JD

Con

The Union-Bulletin (Walla Walla, WA) stated in a Feb. 6, 2007 article by that publication’s Editorial Board:

“Voting is a right, but when citizens break the law, they forfeit some of their rights.

Felons should be made to complete their entire sentences, including probation or parole, and satisfy all related financial obligations before they can resume voting.”

Feb. 6, 2007 - Union-Bulletin

Con

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., JD, former Governor of Maryland (R-MD), stated in a Jan. 24, 2006 Washington Times article by S.A. Miller:

“I don’t think you reward the franchise to those who commit the most horrific crimes. Full restoration of every right is inappropriate…

[I] support current law that gives nonviolent, first-time felons the vote after a three-year waiting period, among other restrictions.”

Jan. 24, 2006 - Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., JD