Prisoners should be denied right to vote

By Isabel Vega
Opinions Editor

Many inmates return to prison after their release (Instagram).

Whether or not felons should be granted the right to vote is an ongoing debate that become pertinent leading up to the 2020 presidential election. I believe that if someone is not willing to follow the law, then they should not play a role in electing our government officials. There are required standards of responsibility and honesty that must be met for citizens before they should be allowed to participate in our government.

People who have committed serious crimes against their fellow citizens simply do not meet those requirements. I think that ex-prisoners have shown an immense lack of honesty and responsibility by committing a crime. Felons who have committed serious crimes especially have forfeited their right to vote.

According to Center for Equal Opportunity, Children, non-citizens and “those adjudicated to be mentally incompetent” are not able to vote because of standards involving trustworthiness and responsibility. The same standard should apply to criminals.

Ex-felons must demonstrate that they are willing to follow the law for a set period of time before they can regain their voting rights. Since the restoration of these rights can return a felon into society, this should be done with extra caution. Incentives for an ex-felon to avoid future problems with the law should be considered.

Having a time period set in place is crucial because such a high percentage of criminals who are released fail to improve overtime and ultimately return to prison. According to Vox, 76 percent of inmates end up back in jail within five years. A set period of time needs to be established before a felon regains the write to vote to ensure that they have turned over a new leaf.

How long this period should be is dependent on many things — the actual crime committed, whether there have been previous felonies, when the crime was committed and what positive changes the felon has made since being released. Only then should a felon have their right to vote restored.

Students share opinions around campus

“Should convicted felons be allowed to vote?”

Brenna Kiefner, a freshman secondary education
and English dual major.
“Felons should not be allowed to vote until they prove they can follow the law.”
Gabby Glavin, a freshman secondary education
and mathematics dual major.
“Yes, felons should be able to vote. It is a right that should not be taken away.”

 

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