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Felon Disenfranchisement

monikermoniker Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
No Taxation Without Representation!
BostonTeaParty.jpg

Battle Cry of the American Revolution. And yet:

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5.3 Million American citizens are denied the right to participatory governance due to criminal status. Also, people living in DC and resident aliens/foreign nationals. Yet all of these individuals are being taxed by a government to which they have no voice nor means of influencing how that money is spent. Is that fair, or is it a blight on the ideals of this country which needs reform?

moniker on
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Posts

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Have there been any U.S. Supreme Court cases determining the constitutionality of these laws?

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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I'm gonna get this in early before my side gets shouted down but, I really believe that people should get a right to vote for the people who make the decisions that effect their lives. For example, if I get a job in the US and am there for 5 or 10 years, I'll be paying taxes, contributing to the economy, perhaps raising children, but would have no right to voice my opinions on the decisions the country is making (and I don't think I should have to give up my British national status). I also don't believe that if someone has committed a crime that all their rights should be taken away from them, again, including their right to representation.

    There. Feel free to now have a 40 page discussion about why I'm wrong.

  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2009
    BobCesca wrote: »
    There. Feel free to now have a 40 page discussion about why I'm wrong.

    Because you're British and it's the 4th of July.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    BobCesca wrote: »
    I'm gonna get this in early before my side gets shouted down but, I really believe that people should get a right to vote for the people who make the decisions that effect their lives. For example, if I get a job in the US and am there for 5 or 10 years, I'll be paying taxes, contributing to the economy, perhaps raising children, but would have no right to voice my opinions on the decisions the country is making (and I don't think I should have to give up my British national status). I also don't believe that if someone has committed a crime that all their rights should be taken away from them, again, including their right to representation.

    There. Feel free to now have a 40 page discussion about why I'm wrong.

    You're not wrong, you're British. There is a difference :P

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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Way to be slow arch.

    h1DI1.jpg
    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    If citizens of other countries can vote in each others elections, why have multiple governments? Isn't England already suffering from a form of this, with Sharia courts being established in England?

    h1DI1.jpg
    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    So, that lightest-blue color is a bit misleading: people who "complete their sentence" usually includes paying restitution to their victims. The problem with this is that people who commit felonies are generally poor, and can't afford to pay restitution; then, they get out of prison, after a likely multi-year sentence, during which the amount owed for their restitution has been accruing interest, and they try to get a job that will allow them to pay off this restitution, while having to disclose to every potential employer that they're a felon. So, more or less, they're stuck with low-wage work, and for the vast majority of felons, those states may as well just completely disenfranchise them; it has the exact same effect.

    And if this were happening to a group of white, middle- or upper-class people, there's no way in hell it would be allowed to stand; but we let it go, because it's happening to a group which is overwhelmingly poor, and disproportionately minority.

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    If citizens of other countries can vote in each others elections, why have multiple governments?

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by that. As in, I cannot parse this sentence.

    Little help?

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, people who commit felonies are effectively abdicating their right to representation via the 14th Amendment as I understand it. On the other, committing a felony and being convicted of one has never exactly been a universal, direct, 1-to-1 relationship.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    If citizens of other countries can vote in each others elections, why have multiple governments?

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by that. As in, I cannot parse this sentence.

    Little help?
    I think he means that if, say, UK and US citizens can vote in each other's elections, why not just merge the countries.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, people who commit felonies are effectively abdicating their right to representation via the 14th Amendment as I understand it. On the other, committing a felony and being convicted of one has never exactly been a universal, direct, 1-to-1 relationship.
    Wasn't "no taxation without representation" the battle cry of the republic at one point? Are convicted felons paying taxes? Absolutely. Frequently, while still in prison. So, the way I see it, either we stop taxing convicted felons, or start letting them vote.

    Not only is there a fundamental fairness issue here, but there's also a perspective issue: we decide that an entire group of people with unique experiences aren't entitled to vote in this country. How the fuck are we supposed to reform the justice system when the people who have most directly experienced it aren't allowed to have any input on how it works? Felon disenfranchisement is one of the reasons that police in this country are so incredibly fucked up; because they know that the people they screw over will be completely ignored.

  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC, couldn't vote for President always astounds me. The way that certain politicians actually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    georgersig.jpg
  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    Doesn't the US have one of the highest prison populations per capita in the world?

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, people who commit felonies are effectively abdicating their right to representation via the 14th Amendment as I understand it. On the other, committing a felony and being convicted of one has never exactly been a universal, direct, 1-to-1 relationship.

    That's just saying it is legal to deny people suffrage, not that it's right to.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUhwA-C-ACg

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    BobCesca wrote: »
    I'm gonna get this in early before my side gets shouted down but, I really believe that people should get a right to vote for the people who make the decisions that effect their lives. For example, if I get a job in the US and am there for 5 or 10 years, I'll be paying taxes, contributing to the economy, perhaps raising children, but would have no right to voice my opinions on the decisions the country is making (and I don't think I should have to give up my British national status). I also don't believe that if someone has committed a crime that all their rights should be taken away from them, again, including their right to representation.

    There. Feel free to now have a 40 page discussion about why I'm wrong.
    During that five-or-ten years you'll also be benefitting from military protection, public transportation, emergency health care, relatively clean running water, electricity, phone services, etc., while not having to register for the selective service. In addition, it's not like someone arrested you, put you through a trial, and then told you "you're moving to America." When you're an adult, it's a decision that you make for yourself, and one of the tradeoffs is not being able to vote until you've done your time. I'll note that you specifically wanted to maintain your status as a British National, which would entitle you to vote in British elections, even while living abroad; this is a case of wanting to have your cake, and eat it, too.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Evander wrote: »
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC< couldn't vote for President alway astounds me. The way that certain politicians accentually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.

    The fact that stripping felons of their voting rights is statistically more likely to influence minorities and the poor seems to be a definite violation of equal protection.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    Doesn't the US have one of the highest prison populations per capita in the world?
    Hell no; we have the highest per capita prison population in the world.

    We're number one!

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    Doesn't the US have one of the highest prison populations per capita in the world?

    Sure does.

    Also usually has one of the lowest percentages of voter turnout of modern democratic non-rigged elections.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    If citizens of other countries can vote in each others elections, why have multiple governments?

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by that. As in, I cannot parse this sentence.

    Little help?
    I think he means that if, say, UK and US citizens can vote in each other's elections, why not just merge the countries.

    So because I am able to influence the city council on that local bond measure for a new library building I shouldn't have a say in the Federal government either?

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  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC< couldn't vote for President alway astounds me. The way that certain politicians accentually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.

    I'm not saying that I don't understand their internal reasoning, I'm saying that it astounds me that they are able to get away with this bullshit.



    Personally, I believe it has a whole LOT to do with the racial make-up of the city.

    georgersig.jpg
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Archgarth wrote: »

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.
    20071009_dc_license_plate.jpg

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, people who commit felonies are effectively abdicating their right to representation via the 14th Amendment as I understand it. On the other, committing a felony and being convicted of one has never exactly been a universal, direct, 1-to-1 relationship.
    Wasn't "no taxation without representation" the battle cry of the republic at one point? Are convicted felons paying taxes? Absolutely. Frequently, while still in prison. So, the way I see it, either we stop taxing convicted felons, or start letting them vote.

    Not only is there a fundamental fairness issue here, but there's also a perspective issue: we decide that an entire group of people with unique experiences aren't entitled to vote in this country. How the fuck are we supposed to reform the justice system when the people who have most directly experienced it aren't allowed to have any input on how it works? Felon disenfranchisement is one of the reasons that police in this country are so incredibly fucked up; because they know that the people they screw over will be completely ignored.
    I completely agree in general terms. Cutting a subset of the American Public off from the political process is undemocratic and runs counter to the principles this country was founded on.

    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    Also usually has one of the lowest percentages of voter turnout of modern democratic non-rigged elections.

    That voting system that appears to be designed to promote voter apathy is a really nice touch.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Doesn't the US have one of the highest prison populations per capita in the world?
    Hell no; we have the highest per capita prison population in the world.

    We're number one!

    Offical. China probably has more people per capita in various shadow prisions and the like. Not that being number two is anything to cheer about in this case as we are the beacon of hope and freedom and they are an opressive authoritarian regime...

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.

    What makes you think we don't already have this?

    The system we have min place now only deals with folks who get caught.

    georgersig.jpg
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Evander wrote: »
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC< couldn't vote for President alway astounds me. The way that certain politicians accentually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.

    I'm not saying that I don't understand their internal reasoning, I'm saying that it astounds me that they are able to get away with this bullshit.



    Personally, I believe it has a whole LOT to do with the racial make-up of the city.

    It abso-fucking-lutely does.

    If DC was in any way a Republican area it would already have full voting rights. I really do not think I am engaging in hyperbole here.

    steam_sig.png
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    MA is on that list twice...

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Doesn't the US have one of the highest prison populations per capita in the world?
    Hell no; we have the highest per capita prison population in the world.

    We're number one!

    U S A !!

    U S A !!

    U S A !!

    steam_sig.png
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Evander wrote: »
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC< couldn't vote for President alway astounds me. The way that certain politicians accentually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.

    I'm not saying that I don't understand their internal reasoning, I'm saying that it astounds me that they are able to get away with this bullshit.



    Personally, I believe it has a whole LOT to do with the racial make-up of the city.

    More likely it's due to the political make-up of the city.

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  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I have no problem with people in prison losing their right to vote, but as soon as they are out, that right should be restored to them.

  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    I've always been uncomfortable with rights being stripped from felons.

    I think that there is a lot more voting disenfranchisement, in general, in our nation that really gets ignored. I think what we really need, as a nation, is to go back to those roots of "no taxation without representation" and figure out what they really mean to us.



    The fact that my grandparents, living in DC< couldn't vote for President alway astounds me. The way that certain politicians accentually try to prevent DC from having representation in congress continues to piss me off. How can anyone justify that to themselves (other than, "they'll vote different from me, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to vote," which IS an indefensible reason.)

    Well, considering the only (and yes I do mean the only) party that has a problem with DC having representation in Congress are the Republicans, it just fits into their pre-determined view of who should (Republicans) and who shouldn't (anyone who could possibly vote for a Democrat) vote.

    I'm not saying that I don't understand their internal reasoning, I'm saying that it astounds me that they are able to get away with this bullshit.



    Personally, I believe it has a whole LOT to do with the racial make-up of the city.

    It abso-fucking-lutely does.

    If DC was in any way a Republican area it would already have full voting rights. I really do not think I am engaging in hyperbole here.

    Even if they were WHITE democrats, they'd have representation.

    It's because they're black that everyone forgets to care, or tacks on gun bills to the voting bills that the residents of the district themselves oppose.

    georgersig.jpg
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I have no problem with people in prison losing their right to vote, but as soon as they are out, that right should be restored to them.

    Why?

    tea-1.jpg
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.

    What makes you think we don't already have this?

    The system we have min place now only deals with folks who get caught.
    Obviously. My point was just that opening up the vote even more would likely lead to more of that.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.
    You're right.

    By the same rationale, we now need to start denying the right to vote and lobby to rich, white people. I mean, have you seen what the financial services has done with the power they have? Enforcement of financial regulations is ridiculously lax, and even when people do get caught, they get off far too easy. We need to start disenfranchising the wealthy in order to maintain our "tough on crime" stances.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    I have no problem with people in prison losing their right to vote, but as soon as they are out, that right should be restored to them.

    Why?
    The reasoning tends to run that they've served their time and repaid their debt to society. Reinstating their voting rights seems like a completely reasonable part of giving them their second chance.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.

    What makes you think we don't already have this?

    The system we have min place now only deals with folks who get caught.
    Obviously. My point was just that opening up the vote even more would likely lead to more of that.

    Because every Congress Critter is going to leap over each other to get the endorsement of the American Association of Imprisoned People?

    tea-1.jpg
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    I have no problem with people in prison losing their right to vote, but as soon as they are out, that right should be restored to them.

    Why?
    I view it as part of the punishment-you lose your freedom and your right to influence policy.

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    moniker wrote: »
    I have no problem with people in prison losing their right to vote, but as soon as they are out, that right should be restored to them.

    Why?
    The reasoning tends to run that they've served their time and repaid their debt to society. Reinstating their voting rights seems like a completely reasonable part of giving them their second chance.

    That was directed at the first half of the sentence.

    tea-1.jpg
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    My issues fall more to the specifics. Career criminals potentially voting for easier means of committing their crime, or for lax enforcement of the laws they routinely break, for example. I think there's got to be a better way of keeping this sort of thing from happening than denying the vote to huge cross-sections of the populace, but simply opening it up has it's own problematic implications.
    You're right.

    By the same rationale, we now need to start denying the right to vote and lobby to rich, white people. I mean, have you seen what the financial services has done with the power they have? Enforcement of financial regulations is ridiculously lax, and even when people do get caught, they get off far too easy. We need to start disenfranchising the wealthy in order to maintain our "tough on crime" stances.
    All agreed here.

    Look, I'm just playing devils advocate in a forum that gives every indication of coming down very strongly on the side of felons' rights.

    I'm not sure how I became the face of the opposition here.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Evander wrote: »
    Archgarth wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    Personally, I believe it has a whole LOT to do with the racial make-up of the city.
    It abso-fucking-lutely does.

    If DC was in any way a Republican area it would already have full voting rights. I really do not think I am engaging in hyperbole here.
    Even if they were WHITE democrats, they'd have representation.

    It's because they're black that everyone forgets to care, or tacks on gun bills to the voting bills that the residents of the district themselves oppose.
    I hate to agree with Evander, but he's absolutely right. If D.C.'s racial mix were reversed, there's no way in hell they wouldn't have full voting rights, one way or another.

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