Last updated on: 2/2/2011 | Author:

John Graff Biography

Volunteer at The Justice Fellowship
Pro to the question "Should People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences Be Allowed to Vote?"

“One searches in vain for a convincing logic to support the revocation of the right to vote, at least in most circumstances and certainly when imposed in perpetuity. The fear of imprisonment or of a death penalty may have deterrent effect, although even that assumption is seriously challenged. The notion that being deprived of the right to vote might deter one from committing a felonious act is ludicrous.

To the prisoner, being without the right to vote will have no affect on current or future behavior because there is no prospect whatever of getting the right restored for good conduct. Any suggestion that denying the vote to all felons somehow preserves the sanctity or purity of the ballot box is table talk for Alice’s tea party.

To be able to vote is the sine qua non of liberty and democracy. It is that without which citizenship is meaningless. Jurists, legislators and philosophers may contend over whether it is a right or a privilege, but it is both. It is that right which we have, or ought to have, as a result of our humanity and our status as children of God — an equal vote with every other human being on who and what will rule our lives.

The very circumstance of its being grounded in our nature means that it is a privilege not subject to the usual rules or penalties that attend disobedience and not lightly to be denied.”

“Voting Rights for Felons,” July 26, 2003

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Volunteer, The Justice Fellowship
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