Voting Rights for Felons


This Business Insider article notes that an estimated 6.1 million American adults were not allowed to vote in the 2016 election because they had a felony conviction on their record. Despite serving their time and returning to their communities, most American states take away felons' voting rights for life. A study suggested that if felons were allowed to vote in Florida, then Al Gore would have been elected President in 2000. Additionally, the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, about 670 inmates per 100,000 residents, which is five times higher than the average of other developed economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Furthermore, incarceration rates are heavily linked to race. US minorities, notably Latinos and blacks, are much more likely to be arrested than white Americans. Black Americans are more likely to lose their voting rights than the rest of the population. In other words, felony disenfranchisement have weakened the political power of black and Latino communities. Do you think America should alter their felony disenfranchisement laws? Do you think the political landscape would be different as a result?