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

Would Re-Enfranchised Felons Voting as a Bloc Subvert Laws Protecting Society?

PRO (yes)


George Brooks, JD, a legal analyst, stated in his Sep. 2005 article “Felon Disenfranchisement: Law, History, Policy, and Politics,” published in the the Fordham Urban Law Journal:

“Supporters [of felon disenfranchisement] also claim that the exclusion of felons from the voting booth is necessary to prevent harmful changes to the law…

While at first glance this claim seems spurious, opponents of felon disenfranchisement have pointed out how concentrated felons are in a handful of inner city communities. Especially when the issue is vote dilution, it is not unimaginable that a large block of criminals in a district could swing an election to a candidate who does not tout the ‘tough on crime’ line.”

Sep. 2005 - George Brooks, JD


Roger Clegg, JD, President and General Counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity, wrote in his article “Who Should Vote?,” published Fall 2001 in the Texas Review of Law & Politics:

“Much has been made of the high percentage of criminals — and, thus, disenfranchised people — in some communities. But the fact that the effects of disenfranchisement may be concentrated in particular neighborhoods is actually an argument in the law’s favor.

If these laws did not exist there would be a real danger of creating an anti-law enforcement voting bloc in municipal elections, which is hardly in the interests of a neighborhood’s law-abiding citizens.”

Fall 2001 - Roger Clegg, JD

CON (no)


Mandeep Dhami, PhD, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, stated in her 2005 article “Prisoner Disenfranchisement Policy: A Threat to Democracy?,” published in the Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy:

“There is also no evidence that offenders are more likely than other groups to vote in a rebellious or subversive way… Like other people, offenders will tend to cast their vote based on more than self-interest or a single issue.”

2005 - Mandeep Dhami, PhD


Scott M. Bennett, JD, Associate Attorney with Lewis and Roca LLP, stated in his Jan. 2004 article “Giving Ex-Felons the Right to Vote,” published in the California Criminal Law Review:

“There is no realistic possibility that allowing ex-felons to vote would alter the content or administration of most of the criminal law. Even if all convicted felons were firmly committed to using their votes to elect soft-on-crime judges, district attorneys and other officials, there is no practical way they could accomplish this…because there is not enough support for those changes among the rest of the political community.”

Jan. 2004 - Scott M. Bennett, JD


The Harvard Law Review wrote in its April 1989 editorial “The Disenfranchisement of Ex-Felons: Citizenship, Criminality, and ‘The Purity of the Ballot Box'”:

“No evidence suggests that ex-felons would base their votes solely, or even partially, on a candidate’s positions on penal issues rather than other matters of policy and politics.

Furthermore, even if ex-offenders were to base their votes on matters of criminal justice, it does not follow that their positions on these matters necessarily would be more permissive than those of the population as a whole.”

April 1989 - Harvard Law Review