A Call to Action: Opening the Ballot for Convicted Felons Essays

A Call to Action: Opening the Ballot for Convicted Felons Essays

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“There is an estimated number of 5.85 million Americans who are prohibited from voting due to laws that disenfranchise citizens convicted of felony offenses.” (Uggen). Varying by state, each disenfranchisement law is different. Only 2 out of 50 U.S. states; Vermont & Maine, authorize voting from convicted felons incarcerated and liberated as shown in (Fig. 1). But of the 48 remaining states these rights are either prohibited or authorized in at least 5 years succeeding to liberation. This disenfranchisement needs to be retracted due to fact that convicted felons; incarcerated or liberated, are U.S. citizens who are guaranteed constitutional rights that should allow them as citizens to have equal opportunity in political and social decisions.
USA Today reports that thousands are falsely convicted each year some of their crimes ranging from petty larceny to serious offenses like murder. Those convicted are then deprived of their constitutional right to make decisions that could affect them during incarceration or after. There is a growing number of incarcerated felons who have been falsely convicted because of a minor offense who when released are prohibited from voting and sustaining certain rights as citizens. This prohibition is unjust and debasing. Voting is a right of a citizen, this right allows said citizens to live comfortably and fairly in their society. It is irrelevant that the citizen(s) are incarcerated during the time of elections it is only relevant that as a citizen the vote affects them and the environment in which they live in.
NAACP President and CEO, Benjamin Jealous, said in an interview with CNN Newsroom that “…people who have paid their debts to society should be allowed to vote” (Orjoux). But it is overlo...


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Leong, Nancy. Felon Reenfranchisement: Political Implications and Potential for Individual Rehabilitative Benefits. Stanford: n.p., n.d. PDF.
Orjoux, Alanne. "NAACP Pushes to Reinstate Former Felons' Voting Rights." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
"Report: Thousands Wrongly Convicted Each Year." Report: Thousands Wrongly Convicted Each Year. USA Today, 11 Feb. 2005. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
Uggen, C., Shannon, S., & Manza, J. (2010). State-level estimates of felon disenfranchisement in the United States, 2010. Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project. Retrieved Form
Wagner, Peter. Incarceration Rates by Race & Ethnicity, 2010. Digital image. Prison Policy Initiative. PPI, 2012. Web. 6 Dec. 2013.
Yingling, Melina. Felons and Voting Rights. Digital image. Boston Occupier. The Boston Occupier Free Press, 4 Nov. 2012. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

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