January 18th, 2012
01:16 PM ET

Poll: Should felons be allowed to vote after serving their sentences?

By Alyse Shorland, CNN

(CNN) – At Monday’s Republican debate in South Carolina, candidates sparred over whether people with felony convictions should be allowed to vote.

Former Senator Rick Santorum said he supports felons regaining the right to vote after they’ve completed their sentences, and noted that felony disenfranchisement disproportionately affects black voters.

“This is a huge deal in the African-American community, because we have very high rates of incarceration, particularly with drug crimes,” he said.

Mitt Romney said as governor of Massachusetts, he disagreed: “I think people who committed violent crimes should not be allowed to vote again.”

Voting rights advocates say the argument could come up more often in the near future - with 2.3 million people currently incarcerated, states are rethinking whether the court’s punishment is enough, or if people who’ve committed felonies will continue to pay for their crimes through disenfranchisement.

Twenty-three states have eased felon voting restrictions since 1997, but in 2011, Florida and Iowa tightened them. Maine and Vermont are the only states with no disenfranchisement for people with criminal convictions.

“It’s really the first time in a while we have seen significant opposition against restoring rights,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based organization that works for criminal justice reform and advocates for voting rights.

Felony disenfranchisement laws date back to the founding of the United States, when legislation restricted people with criminal convictions from voting. Today, laws vary from state to state, but in Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia and Florida, people with a felony conviction are permanently barred from voting, although the right can be restored through a pardon or a rights restoration process.

States' decisions about who is eligible to vote can have national implications. In the 2000 election, Florida was decided by just 537 votes. In that state, almost 950,000 people are disenfranchised because of felony convictions.

And in a nation where every vote counts, disenfranchisement disproportionately affects black voters. Nationally, 5.3 million people are disenfranchised because of felony convictions and about 38% are African-American, according to Sentencing Project. African-Americans make up only 12.6% of the U.S. population. The American Civil Liberties Union said the largest share of disenfranchised voters is in Florida, where nearly one out of every five black men overall is ineligible to vote.

Mauer said voting rights and limitations have historically been tied to race.

“At the same time states were adopting poll taxes, they were also tailoring disenfranchisement laws with the intent of disenfranchising black male voters,” he said, adding that disenfranchisement was tied to certain crimes people then believed black men were more likely to commit.

NAACP: Restrictive laws 'assault' Americans voting rights

But Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank devoted to issues of race, said it’s a matter of criminal justice, not race. It shouldn’t be a topic of discussion at a national level, but should remain a state issue, he said.

“I think that (Santorum) is wrong to want to favor automatic restoration of voting rights to people just because they have served their sentence,” he said. “Reason one being if you don’t follow the law, you don’t have the right to make the law, and when you vote that’s what you’re doing. You’re always making it, at least indirectly, because you are choosing lawmakers.”

Although Clegg doesn’t favor automatic restoration of voting rights, he said states could consider it case-by-case basis.

“We don’t let everybody vote,” he said. “We don’t let children, noncitizens, mentally incompetent vote, we don’t let people who commit serious crimes vote. And the reason is there are a certain minimum objectives of responsibility and loyalty and trustworthiness we demand of people if they are going to participate in self-governance. And people who have committed crimes don’t pass that test.”

Mauer said judging who is fit to vote is a slippery slope, and restricting voting based on felony convictions is the equivalent to a character test.

“In a democracy it’s a very messy situation so we don’t normally invoke character tests or loyalty tests,” he said. “If my next door neighbor beats his kid, I might try and get him help but he has as much right to vote as I do. It’s a very slippery slope to invoke something like character tests.”

What do you think? Should people who committed felonies be allowed to vote after serving their sentences?

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Filed under: Black in America • Politics • Polls • Race • Social justice • Who we are
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. certified plastic surgeon

    I love it when people get together and share opinions. Great website, continue the good work!

    November 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay

      If we are not allowed to vote, then we should not have to pay taxes (taxation without representation) since many government programs will not render aid to us although we are required to pay taxes for them

      December 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marshall

        I've long since quit caring. I'm a member in good standing of the "Vote For No-one Campaign". I have adopted, understand, and support Anarcho-Capitalism.

        December 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Plato68

    Wonder how much opinions would change if, instead of thinking about "corporations" giving someone a second chance, we thought about individual relationships.

    Would anyone here give someone the same trust if they had been unfaithful in the past compared to someone who apparently had not? Would full trust be restored the day after the affair ended? It's easy to complain using the broad terms "society" and "companies". But, would YOU want to know if someone had a bad track record or not, before you "signed up" with them? Bet you would.

    January 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Guitarpotto

    It' should be up to the States to decide. Could it possibly be a function of the parole board to decide on an individual basis?

    January 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lolligagger

    I don't understand how felons can vote. They don't have opposable thumbs, they're constantly spitting up hair balls and they're purring is annoying. What in tarnation am I missing?

    January 20, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. TellDaTruth

    When u get outta prison I feel ya should get a fresh start, get a chance to work and VOTE, turning our backs on them results to them committing more crimes to survive, I mean that's what happen when you don't make it easier for them to get a job. And of course Blacks populate our prison system, they gotta find away to keepem down! We still have to deal with this racist system of So called JUSTICE!

    January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ray. Freda

    We expect ppl to change their lives once released from prison but we do everything we can to make that transition as difficult as possible, when a person has completed their sentence it should be completed !!!

    January 20, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. james

    ""Poll: Should felons be allowed to vote after serving their sentences?""–If they have served out their sentence and are not repeat offenders I don't have a problem with it.–But there a lot of "Ifs"

    January 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dee

      when a person is released from prison and has served their time. they are expected to go to work and become an active part in the work force again. They are expected to pay taxes like everyone else why not allow them to vote. just because a person makes a mistake doesnt mean they dont have a voice. have you ever made a mistake? should you be allowed to vote? get the point...

      January 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. p41

    I know that more than 90% of caucasians believe that felons shouldn't get a second chance, nor have any rights. I know that more than 60% of subservient blacks feel the same, in order to please they're masters. I know that 100% of asians think as caucasians. And, that 90% of hispanics think as caucasians, concerning black people only. When the table's inevitably turn, and many more caucasians get put in prisons, or charged with felonies, because of the "white-power capitalist system," all of your opinions will change like the American economy.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • t-clark

      Everyone is the problem in your World but in the real world you can be anything you want to be but blaming others will suppress you forever Get out there and get busy with the people who love America quit making excuses and blaming anyone but yourself you are your own worst enemy not the white man and not the black man that chooses to be all he can be

      May 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KeninTexas

    It says "there are a certain minimum objectives of responsibility and loyalty and trustworthiness we demand of people if they are going to participate in self-governance. And people who have committed crimes don’t pass that test.” ,,,, The criminals have made a choice to commit crimes and should lose their right to vote. It's of their own doing.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrshl5000

      We know, you were perfect from childhood up. You're god aren't you? You are another fine example of my point I try to make. You too truly believe your vote,voice, opinion means anything to anyone, especially government. Ignorance is bliss.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. noolibs

    No they should not be allowed to vote no matter what...

    January 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • p41

      If that does happen, people like you will lose alot more than the right to vote...

      January 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kim

    felons should not have their right to vote reinstated. Those votes choose representatives who make and enforce laws. If someone harmed one of your family members and then got to choose people to enforce their sentence you would have a differnt feeling about this. Anyone who chooses the rights of a felon over a law abiding citizens right should lose their right to vote for simply being too stupid to vote

    January 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrshl5000

      See? I rest my case. LOL. This ignorant fool is truly under the impression their vote means anything at all. I only wish I was in the same boat. The saying seems to hold true... Ignorance really is BLISS! I wish I wish...

      January 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lisa

    I think that convicted felons should not lose their right to vote at all. Voting is a right and not a privilege. I do not think that there is any justification in taking away anyone's right to vote. Everyone is affected by by the government and everyone should have a say in who represents them at the local, state, and federal levels.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jw

    Non-Violent felons should get all their rights back once they've completed their duties to society....or only particular types of felonies. Once they've paid their debt, why should they be punished the rest of their life for something they may have done when they were young and immature? The way it stands now, if you get a felony then you are in debt for the rest of your life.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Straight Jock

    NOI if they are in prison that right was suspended, go back to civics course unless the liberal congress already returned this right to them. Maybe they have since dead people still vote democratic.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bob

    Rapist, child molesters and murders should be shot. They should never be allowed in society again. If you commit a violent crime you sould pay with your life! So forget voting! Kill them!

    January 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Straight Jock

      Amen to that!

      January 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrshl5000

      that kind of talk would earn you my vote if you were to run for president. oops! I'm a felon! I can't vote! Duh...

      January 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  16. cindy

    Felons are people who got "caught" breaking the law. Many people vote who broke the law and didn't get "caught". Others received felony charges, but got them reduced to misdemeanors. Therefore; there are many technical "felons" who already vote. A sad fact is that many felons are more "eligible" to vote because they have a much better knowledge and understanding of the political system and the candidates than many who just go out and vote a "party line".

    January 19, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Straight Jock

      this is missing the point. While in prison NO voting, if they get out all depends on who they know to get reinstated.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. mrshl5000

    myself being a felon, never wanted to vote to begin with. Fools are those who truly believe their "vote" means anything anyway. I'm more bothered with the firearm restriction. Since I'm a felon, I have no place to protect my wife and daughter from would-be harm doers breaking into my residence. Our legal system is and will always be a disgusting joke as well as government.

    January 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • interceptor2012

      I'm also a felon, was given my citizenship back after completing my sentence of 3 years. I never voted since I was 18. Never served on a jury. I could careless about voting b/c they are all overpaid liars. Live on my pay for year, then do something about the lower class people who are sufferring from rising costs of everything. I pay my taxes for these peoples salary and I can't vote for them? Maybe I should just keep the taxes for myself.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  18. D

    The U.S. incarceration/prison industry needs raw materials (human lives) to justify their operations and facilities to their shareholders. When you look at the disproportionate rates of incarceration for people of color versus those of euro-white privilege it is clear the U.S. criminal justice system targets people of color. Our current approach to sentencing and wholesale targeting of people of color gives the U.S. privatized prison industry free labor. Those incarcerated are disenfranchised for the rest of their lives, they will be denied jobs, housing, and representation. Our inability as a nation to address economic disparity, homelessness, poverty, and education all contribute to lack of opportunity and hope for P.O.C. (people of color). Our current views (as many of the posts here confirm) illustrate that people who are imprisoned are lives that can be thrown away. The cycle of hopelessness, and violence are reinforced generation after generation in certain communities. Prison in the U.S. as it currently exists is TOTALLY about Racism conveniently packaged in a way that we have been conditioned to not question. Now capitalism harnessed with racism is how we arrived as a nation with the highest incarceration rates in the world.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • kirt

      Hey D, you really need to do some research; Cindy you have thrown some many thesis' on here and have nothing to back any of them up. Just saying.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  19. HRB

    This is such a non-issue.

    My bet is that most felons who have completed their sentences would rather have the opportunity to have a decent job and become a productive member of society. How about having these blow-hard politicians address the issue of getting these people back to work first.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • mary

      I agree totally. The system including society does NOTHING to help felons become productive. It is very sad. There are many in the system that made bad choices and have or are paying their dues to society. I pray every day that things will change for them when they get out of prison. Many deserve a second chance to contribute and be productive.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Reba

    My husband grew some (4) pot plants when He was 20 yrs old, He got busted by the cops when another man who was running from the cops for abusing his wife hid in his storage unit (where it was drying). Odly enough, my husband got the felony and 3 months in county jail. The abusive man who ran from the cops got a misdemeanor. My husband is now a business owner, wonderful father of 4 children, and we own 2 homes that we pay taxes on.... The word felon does NOT indicate violence! Its an absolute disgrace that this is such a blanket statement. Rapists and killers and molesters should not have a right to vote, but I am offended by the idea that all felons are violent criminals.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      I wish more people understood this. Our system is based on the potential for redemption, for reform, and for reintegration into society. When we give up on that and say that anyone convicted of a crime will never be a full member of society, we have created a subclass of people with less than full rights. I would rather see people barred from holding office than barred from voting.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
      • interceptor2012


        January 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. courtney

    Not all felonies are "violent" crimes as Romney states.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  22. Stacy

    I think that if you pay taxes, you should have the right to vote and ONLY those that pay taxes should be able to vote.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Now wait a minute! You are going to deny those in the lower income brackets, like retired people, the right to vote?!?!
      Usually you get wiser with age.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Does that include sales tax? Property tax? Excise taxes? Gasoline taxes? Road taxes?

      January 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  23. Guest

    If you cant be fully reintegrated into society after being in prison you should just be put to death

    January 19, 2012 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • cindy

      Now here is a great example of somebody who shouldn't have the right to vote. Is there an IQ test for voting?

      January 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Thomas

    Yes – Any American who has been convicted of a felony and has satisfied all the courts demands, should be able to vote for the simple reason that they pay taxes like everybody else. You cannot tax a person without them being able to "represent" themselves.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |


    January 19, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Not everyone deserves a second chance
      Pedophiles do not deserve a second chance
      Violent murderers do not deserve a second chance
      Rapists do not deserve a second chance

      January 19, 2012 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Reba

        not all felons are violent. My husband grew 4 pot plants when he was 20 yrs old. He is now a business owner, wonderful father, and we own 2 homes and pay taxes on both of them.

        January 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  26. weeknow

    By the way who care about your CAPITALIST VIEWS ,IT's LONG OVER DUE ANYWAY! period

    January 19, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  27. weeknow

    SO what the FACT OF the matter is what I said HOLDS to be TRUE! period

    January 19, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      -no. Are you high?

      January 19, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  28. weeknow


    January 19, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      -this idiot posted the same garbage on another thread. Be realistic: people turn to crime because they don't want to roll up their sleeves and make an HONEST living for themselves. It's not the system. There is no "Man" keeping you down. Laughable.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Thank you Nick.....Very well said.......Just don't understand why some people think that felons should be able to vote after prison.....That is no punishment they cant vote in prison anyway....Not voteing is part of their sentence....the kind that should never go away.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
      • cindy

        If a person is charged with a felon and "pleads" down to a misdemeanor, should they have the right to vote? If a person drives while intoxicated for the third or fourth time, but doesn't get stopped, should they be allowed to vote? If a bank overcharges on fees (fraud, theft), should the CEO be allowed to vote?

        January 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      personally, no I dont think people who are in prison should be able to vote at all. Only a select few (lower level felons) should have their right to vote reinstated. These people clearly dismissed the law and our rules of society, so why should society consider their opinions when it comes to legislation? The vast majority of these people have made it glaringly obvious that they are no so concerned with laws.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Nick

        -I should say SOME should have the POSSIBILITY of PERHAPS being reinstated to vote, but the vast majority should lose that right for life and there is no way in hell anyone should be voting from a jail-cell.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Well,Ive been to jail,and Ive been homeless
      Ive even done hard drugs,but I never did anything that would warrant prison
      Oh,and the thing I went to jail for before ending up homeless or even trying anything else?
      I had a joint in my pocket one time when I was illegally searched.One lousy joint,not even a gram of marijuana
      Which somehow made me a criminal that needed to be locked up for a year(Why I moved)
      But the worst thing is the things they would say,that If i were let out to smoke my pot in peace in my own house
      That for some reason Id just decide to jump in my car,and go driving looking for kids to hit
      To this day the conclusion that I must be a danger to society because I had one joint still makes me angry
      But I never became a murderer,rapist or felon because of it.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
      • cindy

        If a person commits a crime and does the time, they should be free from such restrictions. What is sad that idiots with money get their crimes reduced from a felony and continue to live freely. This not allowing felons to vote is just another example of the war on class and the idolization of money in this country. It isn't about fairness to all citizens as this country was established.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Caitlin

    Yes! Good.
    There could be ways around this issue. Say an american citizen becomes a felon s/he should not have the right to vote after X many years AFTER they have served. That way they could prove that they have earned they're voting privliages again without the government monitoring them 24/7 after thier serving period...of course.
    Also maybe the government could go easy... the time should fit the crime. Should the act be filed as a felony charge or could it pass as something less profound? Maybe the government would go easier on the people who are to appear before a judge in the courtroom. This is a great issue to bring up! Thanks CNN for this share, I now have a better idea of who to vote for our next President!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Mike A

    I do believe some people should be aloud to vote after prison, But I think Governor has a Point, If you kill and specially Mulitples Maybe we should take their right to vote away, beside they be lucky to get out of Prison anyways... Why Should We Let the Highly and Repeated Vote... you Take a Life why should you have Freedom.. Speacly when you Take a Child Life... but for Some Crimes I can See getting a Second Chance.. ..... at a New Start..... well We Will see What happens...

    January 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Michael

    Why is everyone talking about Race ??? Race has nothing to do with this article !!! I don't care if your white,black or green with purple polka dots Felons..lose the right to vote period, not just the time they are in prison......Thats what happens when a person go's to prison, YOU LOSE a lot of things, including your voteing rights among other things like being free to go and do what you want....thats why it's called prison...!!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reba

      my husband grew 4 pot plants when he was 20 yrs old.. he got a felony and 3 months in county jail. He is NOT violent whatsoever. Now we own 2 homes and have 4 kids, and own a business. The term felon covers SOOO many variety of crimes.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
      • mary

        Reba...the public is... SO grossly under educated about our justice and the prison system and the miserably long lasting effects it has on not only the felon but his family.
        1 in every 100 men are incarcerated or on some type of probation in the U.S. It is outrageous what a money making business the system has become. And I'm talking about the court system right up to the prison system there are so many people making a living out off the system. Many peoples jobs depend on convicting and incarcerating our loved ones. JOB SECURITY.
        Doling out ridiculously long sentences, blanket mandatory sentences etc....
        It is not until your own family is affected by the system do you really see the truth of our justice system and what an out of control monster it is.
        I know for a fact I have become less JUDGEMENTAL and yes FORGIVING.
        Yes there are some terrible people that need to be punished and some even forever. But right now there are plenty of people being warehoused for years that given the opportunity they would be productive participants in society. Incarceration has become a money making business.
        The system needs a total revamping it is out of control!!!l
        And I say YES ex-felons should be able to vote. MORE SO THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND a decent job. Not being able to find a job is the number one concern for many of them and their families.

        January 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Michael

    Thats it !! I have had enough, If these felons are able to vote for any office of government period, Ill give up my citizenship and move to another country....Criminals voting for crooks....whats new, except now they want to make it legal.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Bravo....Sign me up to the next train out of here !!

      January 19, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Reba

      You are a nob! My husband is a felon for growing 4 pot plants when he was 20 yrs old. An abusive man who was running from the cops decided to Hide where the plants were drying. My husband got the felony and the violent abusive man got a misdemeanor. We own 2 homes, a business, and have 4 children. STOP INCLUDING ALL FELONS UNDER THE FALSE IDEA THAT THEY ARE ALL VIOLENT. NOT ALL FELONS ARE VIOLENT!!

      January 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • cindy

      Good Riddance! This country would prosper losing more folks like you.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • interceptor2012

      dude, it's just voting, they are not running for office. People make mistakes, do their time and "some" return to lead an active,productive life in society. If u want to lose ur citizenship b/c of this, go for it. Just shows how small minded u are.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Novote

    This law does not affect the African-American Society; the African-American Society affect this law. This law does not say you are black you can't vote. It says that if you commit a felony you can't vote. Its not the rest of societies fault that African-Americans are more likely to commit a crime and then therefore affects there society's pull in the voting both.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  34. M in Oz

    No they shouldn't be able to vote. Imagine murderers on death row voting for republicans who don't approve of the death penalty.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • xizej

      the death penalty should be forbidden anyway, and people that defends his existence are murderers. SO these people
      should be put to death but only these people that defends death penalty existence.

      June 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  35. mikrik13

    They are no more criminal than those running for office. At least their crimes have been detected, prosecuted, and sentences have been served. Unlike politicians, who may have years of undetected crime in their history. That, or crimes the justice department has decided to overlook.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Oh, good zing! I know personally of a few people labeled with felon that are some of the best people in the world. It only takes a second for the whole thing to change. Remember that next time you are out driving.
      And since when (referring to a comment above) does smoking a joint (marijuana) equal crack cocaine? Relatives of cocaine, narcotics such as morphine and Vicodin are quickly dispensed to any one in pain.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  36. weeknow

    YES! because of this no JOBS BIAS SYSTEM People have to convert to CRIME just to get a BUCK >BEEN knowing this HALF my LIFE ESPECAILY in BLACK AMERICA.PERIOD

    January 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      Sounds like you are an apologist for all criminals. Boo hoo.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Michael Chu

    I think only the felons that are out of jail and haven't done anything wrong for about 5 years should vote.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Catdog

    Restore ALL rights once the debt is paid to society. If they are NOT allowed to vote, then they should NOT pay taxes either. You can't ask someone to pay for something they have no say in.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • orrigionalbettina

      good point

      January 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric0691USMC

      I absolutely agree with your point Jose

      January 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      Jail is a consequence for lawless behaviour, i.e. they should pay taxes and not be allowed to vote because if that is part of the consequence then theyshould inform themselves before committing the crime.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      -yeah, actually they SHOULD pay taxes! Better yet, just give them the entire bill of every expense they occured while incarcerated and then perhaps they may not pay taxes upon release but as long as I am paying some of their "housing", "Medical", etc while they are locked up then they can pay too. Think about that.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
      • xizej

        why they should pay taxes to help support the society that expeled them, treat them like animals, if i were them NO VOTE NO TAXES, more why to follow the law made by man empowered against my will

        June 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  39. M005E

    Since when is voting a right?? It is NOT and NEVER has been a right. It has ALWAYS been a privilege.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  40. imaguard

    They should not be able to vote for the same reason they should not be allowed to possess a firearms permit.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Greg Smith

    Hey Mitt, not all felonies are violent crimes. In fact many white collar crimes are felonies and are definitely non-violent. Very poor answer sir.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • lgny

      That's his strategy. Martha Stewart gets her voting rights back automatically, but not some one who did something stupid as a teen that landed him in prison but then lead a clean life.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • interceptor2012

        Totally agree with u

        January 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  42. mike.s

    Have felons gone through punishment, or rehabilitation? I'd guess your answer to that is likely to decide your answer to the poll. I'm in between – I don't think that any rights should be take away for "victimless crimes," but am more open to felons losing rights if they have committed violent or property crimes.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Guest

    I think all felon criminals should either be A:put to death if they are murderers or rapists or B:reintegrated into society if they arent.I think crimes of nonviolent theft and drugs can be worked with,its the violent crimes we cant let back into society

    January 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Dude

    65 million people have criminal records. They are effectively serving a life sentence no matter what they did. Finding decent jobs with a criminal record is next to impossible in the best of economies.

    People with criminal records have families to feed. Denying them the ability is lead a normal life is just asking for more trouble!

    January 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Kris Craig

    "....if you don't follow the law, you don't have the right to make the law...."

    Why the hell not? Sometimes, laws are unjust. Sometimes, people are forced into a life of crime by economic disparities. The people who are adversely affected by a law absolutely should have a say!

    Let's say, for example, that the government decided to ban dancing. 60% of the population then violated this law. If they were denied the right to vote, the 40% who didn't like to dance would be content to leave that unjust law in place. On the other hand, if murder is illegal and, say, only 0.1% (I have no idea what the actual figure is so don't bother correcting me lol) of the population violates this law, the remaining 99.9% will still be enough to keep that law in place.

    Stripping voting rights for *any* reason is undemocratic. If you want to strip them of citizenship, we can have that discussion. Otherwise, if you still want to think of them as citizens who are bound by our laws, then they have a fundamental right to have a voice in who gets to make those laws, regardless of whether or not they've broken them.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Nobody is forced into a life of crime. Economic disparities are, more times than not, a person's situation due to good/bad choices.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nick

        -this guy Mike is a thinker folks, and there are not many on this board so listen up! LOL

        January 19, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  46. mememe

    Sure why not let them vote? We let them run for office as Republicans, after all.

    January 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike.s

      me me me. That's very suitable name for a Democrat.

      January 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. George M

    Seeing the votes you s gave to worthless and useless in goverment i think "ONLY FELLONS SHOULD VOTE"

    January 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Terry

    I think people who do not pay their fair share in taxes should not be eligible to vote!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • payfairshare

      That would be the poorest among us because they don't pay their fair share. In fact, the US government spends over $12,000 for every person in the US. So, anyone not paying at least $12,000 in federal taxes is not paying their fair share.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kris Craig

        @payfairshare You could not possibly be more wrong. Poor people pay the highest share of all. They pay by working the most difficult, stressful jobs; working the longest hours, and still being unable to afford the basic necessities of life like food and medical care.

        Also, you're forgetting that poor people still have to pay payroll taxes (FICA ring a bell?). Having worked minimum wage jobs, I know that these taxes are devastatingly harmful. The wealthy, meanwhile, whine and complain about "fairness" because they have to pay more, but at the end of the day they don't have to worry about jack compared to the poor people who actually keep this country moving.

        January 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • George M

      I agree what gets me is Gingrig used that Mass felon voted as far as i am concerned they can not in Mass i think he used the mike Dukakis thing that knocked him out years back when a guy was let out and comited a crime
      But i am a non vilent crime did my time and Mass and Florida said no
      the one voting they must be on pay rolls or stupid

      January 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • George M

      Sorry there pal clicked wrong but noticed about paying taxes did you know and your pal that your taxes 33.000.00 a year went to and for every mass prisnor ? and your Rommy state would use lots of it for extra stuff for the employees and feed, old expired food that expired 4-5-6-7-8 year past sneak it in and pork a federial law say NO PORK
      and more but THEY SPEND YOUR TAXES your votiing guards and staff and you and your tax dollar go look at your leachs

      January 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • mike zaldivar


        January 19, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • interceptor2012

      I pay my taxes, have been since I was able to work at 15yrs old. 1 mistake in my life as a teen and now can't vote. Maybe I should stop paying taxes since I can't vote.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Jeff

    No, I don't care what color they are, when you commit a felony, that's it, you loose some of the priviliges that law abiding citizens have. Doesn't matter what color!!!!!! Let's leave race out of everything!!!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lawtonfogle

      Jeff, you have one major misunderstanding. Voting is a right, not a privilege.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Yes, it is a right, until you commit a felony, I guess you are against punushment. We have the right to own a gun, until we commit a felony, then we loose that right, I guess that is wrong also. We have the right to drink, but when we do that and drive then we loose that right also, maybe not for ever, just depending on what happens. So you see, we have a lot of rights, until we "Break the Law".

        January 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  50. JOSE0311USMC


    January 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Well heck Jose, why dont we just not even send them to prison. I mean, why should you be held responsible for your actions and punished when you break the law. Skin color is not the issue.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nick

        -apparently skin color is an issue to him(sigh).

        January 19, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
    • cindy

      Actually, by numbers, most felons are white. But it is also true that whites get better lawyers and have the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. If we looked at "charges" rather than "convictions" we would have an entirely different picture.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |