This memorandum reports on the problems associated with felon disenfranchisement. It also sets a framework for analysis based on four criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, political acceptability, and administrative operability.
This memorandum also lays out the four possible policy intervention alternatives. Each option is described and then evaluated based on the criteria and compared with the other alternatives. Alternative 1, maintains the status quo. Alternative 2 prohibits disenfranchisement of all felons and ex-felons. Alternative 3 prohibits disenfranchisement of ex-felons, outside of correctional care, only. Alternative 4 prohibits the disenfranchisement of ex-felons, individuals on felony probation, and individuals on parole. All four alternatives are assessed by how well they meet the four criteria. Assessment points are linked to successfully meet operational standards and the alternative with the greatest number of points is indicated as the best alternative.
The alternative with the greatest number of assessment points, and is therefore the fittest option, is Alternative 2. Even though all of the other alternatives are less administratively complicated, and two other policy alternatives are more politically acceptable, Alternative 2 is the most effective and equitable solution.
Currently, one of the big...
... middle of paper ...
...ent is “ostensibly race-neutral” but the effect is not7. Another problem is that since felon disenfranchisement is not produced by judicial sentencing, but by state law, a felon can vote in one state and not in another. For example, an ex-felon living in Maine can legally vote, but if he or she moves to a state that bans post-sentence ex-felon voting, like Alabama, that person can no longer vote.
The United States features the harshest voting rights restrictions of all western nations8. State policies that politically sterilize felons and ex-felons are illegitimate and inappropriate. They serve no valid rehabilitation purposes and violate the rights of citizens and perpetuate institutional racism. The proliferation of these unnecessary laws constitutes a serious threat to civil rights, especially in minority communities, and requires immediate policy intervention.
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