There are around 3 million Americans in various states who have paid their debt to society and are no longer incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, yet are denied the right to cast their vote in an election. State laws vary wildly as far as re-enfranchisement is concerned, with some never disenfranchising felons, and others permanently disenfranchising them. This patchwork of state laws is inherently unfair, as citizens are treated differently depending on their location.
America’s criminal justice system should be built around the idea of rehabilitation whenever possible. We should be working with anyone who has completed their prison term and any post-incarceration parole or probation to help them reintegrate into society.
By restoring full voting rights to ex-felons who have completed the entirety of their sentence, we’ll increase their engagement with society. This will improve their lives drastically, for obvious reasons. It will also make the rest of us safer, as some studies have shown that ex-felons who vote are half as likely to reoffend. By giving these individuals a larger stake in society, we make our entire country stronger.
If you’ve paid your debt to society, you ought to be able to vote. This is particularly true given the hodgepodge of different treatment in different states. Voters are less likely to reoffend, which is only one reason we should be pushing for it.
Problems to be Solved
- Millions of Americans are not allowed to vote because of a prior conviction, making them less engaged with society.
- Civil rights
- Civic engagement
- Help to reintegrate those convicted of felonies into society
- Expand voting rights
As President, I will…
- Support state efforts to pass legislation restoring voting rights to individuals convicted of felonies who are currently denied their right to vote.
- Encourage states to minimize the list of felonies that result in an automatic loss of voting rights.
- Prioritize all initiatives to expand and restore voting rights in the US to the previously incarcerated.