- Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences Be Allowed to Vote?"
“The early exclusion of felons from the franchise by many states could well have rested on Locke’s concept, so influential at the time, that by entering into society every man ‘authorizes the society, or which is all one, the legislature thereof, to make laws for him as the public good of the society shall require, to the execution whereof his own assistance (as to his own decrees) is due.’
A man who breaks the laws he has authorized his agent to make for his own governance could fairly have been thought to have abandoned the right to participate in further administering the compact. On a less theoretical plane, it can scarcely be deemed unreasonable for a state to decide that perpetrators of serious crimes shall not take part in electing the legislators who make the laws, the executives who enforce these, the prosecutors who must try them for further violations, or the judges who are to consider their cases. This is especially so when account is taken of the heavy incidence of recidivism and the prevalence of organized crime.
A contention that the equal protection clause requires New York to allow convicted mafiosi to vote for district attorneys or judges would not only be without merit but as obviously so as anything can be.”
Green v. Board of Elections, 1967
1967 U.S. 2nd District Court
- None found