Authored by Heaven Stubblefield in Criminal Law
Published on 01-26-2010
In democracy exercising one’s right to vote is crucial to have a say in the political system. If you don’t vote, you relinquish your right to have a voice in the society. Every citizen should have a voice and be represented in the government. However, controversy surrounding felon’s voting rights has risen over the years that everyone seems to have something to say about the Pros and Cons of felon voting rights. It is a controversial issue and every aspect should be considered and weighed constructively.
Some would say that the right to vote is basic and fundamental in a democratic country, that stripping a felon of his right to vote is like stripping him out of his prospect of becoming involved in a community. Others think that a felon who is given a chance to vote is also given a chance to become a productive member of society. It strengthens the institutions when a person, regardless if he is a felon or not, when participates in the democratic process of voting.
If a society should restrict felons to vote, it goes against the very grain of democracy. It is not a strong society when you can’t fully enjoy your freedom. If a felon has no rights, then why release him again in the community when his prison term ends? It doesn’t make sense. If you restrict his right to vote, why not remove his right to marry, own a property or even to drive.
While others who are not in favour of felon’s right to vote would argue that felons can’t be trusted therefore, they can’t be trusted to choose who would lead the country, that their beliefs are compromised and are not the best people to give a huge a responsibility as voting.
Some even argue that they should not pick representatives to lead the country as they are convicted felons who have bad judgment. They should not have a say because they are the very people who make the society or the community undesirable.
If they can’t follow the laws of the land, then they should be allowed to make laws for the rest of the society. Children are not allowed to vote precisely because we cannot trust their judgment. The society has standards of trustworthiness to follow that’s why we don’t allow everyone to vote. And people who have committed crimes don’t meet those standards.
The pros and cons of felon voting rights really raise a lot of issues. Are felons not capable of change? That after years in prison, they cannot be trusted to become mature and responsible. If you think that felon’s right to vote should be restored after he has served their time and paid his debts to society, will you give him his right to own a gun again or carry a firearm?
What is your take? Are you for or against it? Do felons have the right to vote or not? Is it really a basic right that no one can take away from you? Or are we being prejudiced into thinking that criminals can never change?