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Why Can't Ex-Felons Vote

Voting is a basic human right that should be practiced by everyone who qualifies in any given sovereign democratic state. The US, however, has set of laws that deny convicts and ex-convicts this fundamental right of democracy. In the year 2004, for instance, 4.7 Million Americans failed to participate in election, irrespective of their political affiliations, on grounds that they had a criminal record. This work evaluates the reasons for denial of the right to vote by inmates and ex-felons with an aim of gauging the viability of these reasons.

To begin with, the 14th Amendment allows a state denies citizens the right to vote for participating in crime or rebellion. They argue that the purpose of prison is denial of freedom. This argument is wrong since the main purpose of prison is for rehabilitation purposes and not denial of freedom. Prisons only help to monitor the behaviour of the convicts closely during this rehabilitation process. All fundamental human rights and freedom should be accessible to the prisoners including the right to vote. For the ex-convicts, the government says that it lacks trust with them making the law because at one point they broke the same law. This perception misguides the government on various grounds. Belief has it that once a citizen successfully serves his or her sentence, he has reformed and can return to normal activities. Some people are accused falsely and even end up in prison without necessarily breaking the law. When freed, it thus becomes unrealistic to deny them the right to vote. The notion portrayed by the government in this case is that; once a criminal always a criminal. Majority know this is wrong. Eighty percent of the respondents in the July 2002 Harris poll said echelons should have their rights reinstated automatically; 60 percent would consider the current parolees, too (Krajick).

Research also reveals that the government bars convicts and ex-convicts from voting because it believes that they will not vote for republicans. This convict population depicts low income, minority status, or low education. 65 to 90 percent of the time, they vote for Democrats. The government should be aware that voting is a personal choice, and it should respect whoever way that the vote goes. After all, the electorate vote for their future. In reference to one credible study carried out at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, George W. Bush would have lost the Florida vote by 80,000 in 2000 had echelons been permitted to vote -- even assuming the majority of them would not have considered voting and a third would have voted Republican (Krajick). This means that at that time, the democrats could be controlling the senate. However, the democrats never stood up for this group of people because they feared that the government would lessen their stand against crime.

The government appears to lose focus on the approach to ending crime. There is the famous anti law enforcement cartel that has managed to elect several criminals to power without the help of ex-convicts. Therefore, the government’s efforts prove misdirected.

It is commonsensical that what the government is doing is wrong. The government’s reasons to deny felons and ex-felons the right to vote held no water. If allowed to continue then, we shall have leaders that do not represent the choice of the whole America family. Voting is a fundamental human right and not a privilege and should be treated that way all the time. The person denied this right becomes stateless. This hard fought democracy faces threat if this trend by the government persists. Indeed, everyone needs to rise to this occasion and push for the democratic rights of the convicts and ex-convicts.

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