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Felon VotingFollow

#1 Mar 05 2013 at 7:05 AM Rating: Good
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Maine and Vermont are the only two states that allow felons to vote, even while incarcerated. Nine other states disenfranchise felons permanently, while the norm is to disallow voting only while serving a sentence and perhaps during probation.

The Felon Voting Organization estimated that there are currently nearly 6 million felons who are disenfranchised. That's nearly 2% of the US population.

Questions:

Should convicted felons get to vote while in prison, after serving their term or ever?

Could the prison vote make a difference in an election - locally, or at federal or state level?

Do you think a politician would ever pander to the prisoners ...perhaps while covertly trying to change laws to allow them to vote?

What kind of leader do you think the general felon population would support, or perhaps the group is too diverse to categorize??

Edit: Another question, what's a wild estimated of the percentage of felons that would bother voting even if they could?

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 2:12pm by Elinda
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#2 Mar 05 2013 at 7:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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It makes sense to me to let them vote. The point of prison is to rehabilitate criminals so they can live a normal life after they get out, banning them from their right to vote doesn't look like something that contributes to that to me.
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#3 Mar 05 2013 at 8:16 AM Rating: Excellent
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The point of prison is to rehabilitate criminals

I don't really pay attention, but which non US country are you from?
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#4 Mar 05 2013 at 8:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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Felons have the right to vote just as they have the enumerated right to own firearms.

I don't have a real problem in theory with letting them vote in federal or statewide elections. Unfortunately, there's no way to divorce that from voting in local elections and the prison population probably makes up a significant part of the population in many prison towns. As a random example, Pontiac Illinois has 11,000 people and has a state prison housing 1,600 prisoners. That'd be ~10% of the population. Even for Congressional House elections, they could potentially swing a vote. I'm not sure I'm cool with the idea that the local inmates would be a major swing vote for the local mayor, sheriff, county board or whatever.

Quote:
what's a wild estimated of the percentage of felons that would bother voting even if they could?

I guess Maine and Vermont would have the only data on that. Half of me says "They wouldn't bother", the other half says "What else do they have to do that day? Voting would probably break up the routine a little."

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 8:26am by Jophiel
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#5 Mar 05 2013 at 8:26 AM Rating: Decent
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
It makes sense to me to let them vote. The point of prison is to rehabilitate criminals so they can live a normal life after they get out, banning them from their right to vote doesn't look like something that contributes to that to me.

Since when?
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#6 Mar 05 2013 at 8:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Since when?

Opinions on efficiency aside, since the 20th century at least. Hence the job training programs, educational programs, programs for placing prisoners in half-way houses and jobs after release, etc available now that weren't available in the 18th century when you threw them in a hole as a strictly punitive measure until you were ready to boot them out the door with a pair of pants and $2 in fare to get the hell out of town.

This isn't to speak for how great it works. Just that the focus has in fact shifted since the earlier days.
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#7 Mar 05 2013 at 8:35 AM Rating: Good
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As Joph mentioned, it could be potentially problematic in local votes. Particularly in those where judges are up for re-election. I don't have a problem with them being able to vote again once their probationary period is over, but I wouldn't think they should until then at least.
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#8 Mar 05 2013 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
"What else do they have to do that day?
Shower sex.
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#9 Mar 05 2013 at 9:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
The point of prison is to rehabilitate criminals

I don't really pay attention, but which non US country are you from?
The one with weed, prostitutes, cheese and tulips.
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#10 Mar 05 2013 at 9:10 AM Rating: Good
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Way off the point but speaking about rehabilitation, another local bill that has come up before the lawmakers here would essentially house convicted criminals up to 25 years old within the juvenile system. The argument being that the juvenile system provides more resources for rehabilitation and also doesn't see the recidivism rate of adult prisons (of course once they're adults they don't come back anyways). I think this may also be spurred in part by a bit of a prison over-crowding issues that we're having.

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#11 Mar 05 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Good
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
The point of prison is to rehabilitate criminals

I don't really pay attention, but which non US country are you from?
The one with weed, prostitutes, cheese and tulips.

My husband is currently pondering the creation of a line of high-end hand-made collector bongs in the advent of recreational dope becoming legal. He wants to use different specialty woods and what-not.

Do you have anything like that there?
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#12 Mar 05 2013 at 9:28 AM Rating: Good
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Only in the tourist trap shops.

As far as I know, most people here smoke joints.
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#13 Mar 05 2013 at 9:28 AM Rating: Good
If they wanna bother getting absentee ballots so they can vote in their own district, sure, why not? Fixes Joph's issue.

I doubt it'll matter much, though. The majority of prisoners probably wouldn't bother, just like how about half the registered voters already don't bother.

Elinda wrote:
My husband is currently pondering the creation of a line of high-end hand-made collector bongs in the advent of recreational dope becoming legal. He wants to use different specialty woods and what-not.

Do you have anything like that there?


If he's using wood to make bongs, he's doing it wrong. Glass is the go too, although vaporizers are the healthier alternative & seem to be increasing in popularity.

Quote:
As far as I know, most people here smoke joints.


If "here" is anywhere other than the US, they do, & they mix tobacco with it. Only us crazy Americans seem to smoke it straight.

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 10:31am by Omegavegeta
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#14 Mar 05 2013 at 9:36 AM Rating: Good
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Some people smoke it straight but that's from a pipe and it's pretty much only the people who grow their own plants (you can have up to 6 per person legally) because you go through weed much faster when smoking from a pipe I think. I've never actually tried it.
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#15 Mar 05 2013 at 9:37 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't have a real problem in theory with letting them vote in federal or statewide elections. Unfortunately, there's no way to divorce that from voting in local elections and the prison population probably makes up a significant part of the population in many prison towns. As a random example, Pontiac Illinois has 11,000 people and has a state prison housing 1,600 prisoners. That'd be ~10% of the population. Even for Congressional House elections, they could potentially swing a vote. I'm not sure I'm cool with the idea that the local inmates would be a major swing vote for the local mayor, sheriff, county board or whatever.

Right, we wouldn't want them to have a voice in the conditions of their incarceration. It's not like they're PEOPLE.
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#16 Mar 05 2013 at 9:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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Omegavegeta wrote:
If they wanna bother getting absentee ballots so they can vote in their own district, sure, why not? Fixes Joph's issue.

I would assume they're technically residents of their current location though and would be legally allowed to vote there. Sort of like college students being allowed to register and vote in the town their dorms are in. If you're allowing them to vote, there's a strong argument that the local political scene affects them more strongly than that in their hometown.
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#17 Mar 05 2013 at 9:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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Right, we wouldn't want them to have a voice in the conditions of their incarceration. It's not like they're PEOPLE.

Prison-People!
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#18 Mar 05 2013 at 9:43 AM Rating: Decent
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I would assume they're technically residents of their current location though and would be legally allowed to vote there. Sort of like college students being allowed to register and vote in the town their dorms are in. If you're allowing them to vote, there's a strong argument that the local political scene affects them more strongly than that in their hometown.

Think of the gerrymandering possibilities! Honestly, having a prison population that's a significant percentage of the surrounding population is a problem. Of the things I find troubling about it, the potential for prisoners to say local elections if allowed to vote is about #42 on the list.
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#19 Mar 05 2013 at 9:51 AM Rating: Good
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Omegavegeta wrote:


If he's using wood to make bongs, he's doing it wrong. Glass is the go too, although vaporizers are the healthier alternative & seem to be increasing in popularity.
But wouldn't the wood mellow and add flavor - like it does to bourbon or scotch?

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#20 Mar 05 2013 at 9:53 AM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
Of the things I find troubling about it, the potential for prisoners to say local elections if allowed to vote is about #42 on the list.

Well, if I was imprisoned, not being able to vote would probably be about #442 on my list of current issues. But that's the topic the OP gave me.
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#21 Mar 05 2013 at 9:56 AM Rating: Decent
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Well, if I was imprisoned, not being able to vote would probably be about #442 on my list of current issues. But that's the topic the OP gave me.

I don't know, I've worked in a few prisons when I was in school. I think it would be a significant issue. Obviously the fear of physical harm is real, but mostly it's the overwhelming feeling of abject powerlessness that drives much of the negative consequences of being imprisoned. There's an argument that's part of the punitive aspect, but it doesn't seem particularly useful.
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#22 Mar 05 2013 at 10:01 AM Rating: Good
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Felons being disenfranchised is pretty low on my list of concerns.
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#23 Mar 05 2013 at 10:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think if they were already registered to vote, they shouldn't lose the right. However, if they were not registered to vote at the time they committed the crime, the state is under no obligation to hold voter registration drives at the prison or to go out of their way to get them registered. Also, they probably need to vote absentee at best and be barred from participating in the campaign process.

I have no issue letting someone vote once they're out of prison or on probation.
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#24 Mar 05 2013 at 10:19 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
But that's the topic the OP gave me.
You're lucky you got that. Smiley: clown

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#25 Mar 05 2013 at 10:48 AM Rating: Decent
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Felons being disenfranchised is pretty low on my list of concerns.

Sure, it's not impacting you, so fuck the other guy, right? Enlightened way to order your concerns. "Does it directly effect me? No? Fuck it, then."
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. @#%^ off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#26 Mar 05 2013 at 10:57 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
Felons being disenfranchised is pretty low on my list of concerns.

Sure, it's not impacting you, so fuck the other guy, right? Enlightened way to order your concerns. "Does it directly effect me? No? Fuck it, then."

Smiley: lolgaxe

When they came for Lolgaxe there were only the felons left.

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 5:58pm by Elinda
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#27 Mar 05 2013 at 11:02 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
"Does it directly effect me? No? Fuck it, then."
"Oh my god, Charles Manson can't vote! What injustice!"

Does that make you feel better? Because I still don't particularly care that he can't.
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#28 Mar 05 2013 at 11:07 AM Rating: Decent
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"Oh my god, Charles Manson can't vote! What injustice!"

Does that make you feel better? Because I still don't particularly care that he can't.


I think an insane mass murder is clearly representative of most Felons. Really we should just make all sentences life without parole for any felony. Why would we ever want these people released? Or you know what would be more efficient? Just herding them off 40 foot drops onto concrete, then paving over it. No worry about the voting thing, and we can build a park for children to play in!
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#29 Mar 05 2013 at 11:09 AM Rating: Excellent
Can we at least infect them with various diseases and kill them that way? I mean as long as we're treating them like disposable flesh bags.

Or maybe hook them up to a blood donor machine, we're always short of that aren't we?
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#30 Mar 05 2013 at 11:11 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
"Does it directly effect me? No? Fuck it, then."
"Oh my god, Charles Manson can't vote! What injustice!"

Does that make you feel better? Because I still don't particularly care that he can't.
Because everyone in prison is a mass murderer/cult leader, right?
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#31 Mar 05 2013 at 11:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
Or you know what would be more efficient? Just herding them off 40 foot drops onto concrete, then paving over it. No worry about the voting thing, and we can build a park for children to play in!
This is where I show, or at least pretend to show, some moral outrage at such a suggestion? I actually think it's a good idea, except that the concrete should only fill about 39 feet of that hole, and the rest be dirt and grass and stuff for the children.
His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Because everyone in prison is a mass murderer/cult leader, right?
So it isn't so much as felons as it is a matter of degrees for you? How about people convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses? Do they get to keep voting? Drug dealers? Pedophiles? How about if they murdered just one person? Do you guys have a list of which types felons should, and shouldn't, be allowed to vote?

Edited, Mar 5th 2013 12:19pm by lolgaxe
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#32 Mar 05 2013 at 11:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, I'm a little pissed about sending my kid off to play on a concrete slab.
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#33 Mar 05 2013 at 11:29 AM Rating: Decent
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So it isn't so much as felons as it is a matter of degrees for you? How about people convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses? Do they get to keep voting? Drug dealers? @#%^philes? How about if they murdered just one person? Do you guys have a list of which types felons should, and shouldn't, be allowed to vote?

No, which is the point. The labeling of vast segments of society to make it more convenient for you to self righteously hate them *probably* isn't as important as voting. A democracy that incarcerates *by far* the largest per capita population of it's citizens of any other free nation in the world, should be concerned with ensuring that created underclass has a voice in that democracy.

But you know, if we can label them a scary word then they don't matter, right?
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#34 Mar 05 2013 at 11:41 AM Rating: Good
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No, which is the point.
I'm sorry I'm not as easily swayed by generic phrases meant to elicit a response, but again it isn't something I dwell on. If you want a specific answer, don't ask a generic question. Though, I guess those kinds of questions help people feel better about themselves.
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#35 Mar 05 2013 at 11:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:

No, which is the point. The labeling of vast segments of society to make it more convenient for you to self righteously hate them *probably* isn't as important as voting. A democracy that incarcerates *by far* the largest per capita population of it's citizens of any other free nation in the world, should be concerned with ensuring that created underclass has a voice in that democracy.

But you know, if we can label them a scary word then they don't matter, right?


Well, that's an interesting take on the matter. I didn't see his comments as "hating" so much as recognizing that when you break the law, sometimes things are taken away from you. Voting can either be one of those things, or not, and if we can accept that people who commit crimes might not actually have the best judgment - well there's a good argument for not allowing them that particular right.

Folks who commit a felony and then get locked up for it should expect some measure of their rights will be taken away. I don't see voting as such a crucial QoL issue for convicted felons.
#36 Mar 05 2013 at 12:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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It doesn't terribly upset me that the incarcerated can't vote, although I wouldn't oppose the idea either. I haven't read enough strong arguments - or any arguments really - for either side. Although I guess the burden of argument should fall on the side that's taking a civil right away.

I do strongly support voting rights for felons who have served their time. If we've deemed them fit to be part of society, why prevent them from engaging in the philosophical basis of that society? (Not to mention that a lot of our treatment of released felons only contributes to more recidivism.1)

1. unresearched statement
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#37 Mar 05 2013 at 12:31 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm sorry I'm not as easily swayed by generic phrases meant to elicit a response, but again it isn't something I dwell on. If you want a specific answer, don't ask a generic question. Though, I guess those kinds of questions help people feel better about themselves.

Yes, one of two things is happening. I, an incredibly well educated super intelligent person with a huge amount of diverse life experience was suckered into believing something based on pity and naivete. Or, you're missing something.

I am known for my overly generous nature and emotional weakness, so it's almost definitely that first one.

Don't think too hard on it, though. Just kidding, I know you won't.
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. @#%^ off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#38 Mar 05 2013 at 12:35 PM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:
I, an incredibly well educated super intelligent person with a huge amount of diverse life experience was suckered into believing something based on pity and naivete. Or, you're missing something.
Don't worry Wile E, I'll keep your big naive heart a secret.
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#39 Mar 05 2013 at 1:04 PM Rating: Excellent
I'm a Guardian reading Brit, quasi liberal with a touch of Tory. So take my comments with a pinch of salt as you have focused on a US perspective ...

Elinda wrote:
Should convicted felons get to vote while in prison, after serving their term or ever?


Personally ...No they should not be able to vote, I believe you should pay a price for your crimes. Your freedom is being stripped from you for a reason.
From a really lazy google I have found a link about the debate going on with UK/Europe over this very matter. While it worries me that I agree with Cameron, I do.

Elinda wrote:
Could the prison vote make a difference in an election - locally, or at federal or state level?


Depends if you live beside a HUGE prison? Personally I'd be more worried about the general population makeup in the area you live in.

Elinda wrote:
Do you think a politician would ever pander to the prisoners ...perhaps while covertly trying to change laws to allow them to vote?


I've never yet seen a politician who will not pander to someone/something/someTVshow for a vote. We have some shockers in the UK, but ... I will never assume for the US ... you nearly had Palin as VP Smiley: clown
But .. saying that .. the Politician would need to be in an area with a HUGE prison to pander to the inmates ...

Elinda wrote:
What kind of leader do you think the general felon population would support, or perhaps the group is too diverse to categorize??


I cannot possibly say, I do not hang about with prisoners but I would assume they are a rich and a varied bunch.

Elinda wrote:
Edit: Another question, what's a wild estimated of the percentage of felons that would bother voting even if they could?


Those who gave a damn will. I bet those are also the ones who make it back into mainstream society.
#40 Mar 05 2013 at 2:29 PM Rating: Decent
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Smasharoo wrote:
with a huge amount of diverse life experience


Coming from a middle to upper class white guy in his middle age years, this statement is almost never accurate.


Edited, Mar 5th 2013 2:30pm by BrownDuck
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#41 Mar 05 2013 at 2:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Coming from a middle to upper class white guy in his middle age years, this statement is almost never accurate.

Almost. In my case, it's deadly accurate.
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#42 Mar 05 2013 at 2:57 PM Rating: Good
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#43 Mar 05 2013 at 3:15 PM Rating: Good
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Why not give them the opportunity for reenfranchisement if they serve a term in the military. We could use some more black people in our armed services.
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#44 Mar 05 2013 at 3:47 PM Rating: Good
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Is this thread about felons or unpropertied men? 'Cause it's kinda hard to tell.
#45 Mar 05 2013 at 3:55 PM Rating: Decent
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Watching HBO has got to count for something.

Don't be ludicrous, we don't have television. The children, man, think of the children.
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#46 Mar 05 2013 at 3:58 PM Rating: Good
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Don't worry, it'll be about politics soon enough.
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#47 Mar 05 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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trickybeck wrote:

It doesn't terribly upset me that the incarcerated can't vote, although I wouldn't oppose the idea either. I haven't read enough strong arguments - or any arguments really - for either side. Although I guess the burden of argument should fall on the side that's taking a civil right away.


Sorry. I just had a flashback to an old comedy bit where the comedian relates the tale of some overanxious eco-type coming up to him in the supermarket and saying "Don't eat the tuna! Dolphins get caught in the nets!", and he responds "What about the tuna?"

Being put in prison constitutes a vastly greater infringement of the prisoners civil rights than not allowing him to vote. Being concerned about losing the right to vote while accepting all the other stuff he loses as a consequence of being imprisoned is like worrying about wind chafing when your parachute fails to open.

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I do strongly support voting rights for felons who have served their time.


I agree absolutely. Loss of voting rights, if imposed as part of the punishment, should be restored once the punishment/parole/probation/whatever is over.

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If we've deemed them fit to be part of society, why prevent them from engaging in the philosophical basis of that society?


Exactly.
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#48 Mar 05 2013 at 7:27 PM Rating: Decent
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But felons *are* productive members of society while incarcerated. They're providing jobs, and revenue for the for-profit prison industry. It's the deadbeat unemployed welfare-mooching slackers who shouldn't be allowed to vote!
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#49 Mar 05 2013 at 11:13 PM Rating: Good
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Debalic wrote:
But felons *are* productive members of society while incarcerated. They're providing jobs, and revenue for the for-profit prison industry.


And making license plates.

(Do they still do that in prison...?)
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#50 Mar 06 2013 at 2:20 AM Rating: Good
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Coming from a middle to upper class white guy in his middle age years, this statement is almost never accurate.


We told the bee-eaters they were the wisest of us, so that they would keep eating bees.
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#51 Mar 06 2013 at 7:55 AM Rating: Good
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JennockFV wrote:
I'm a Guardian reading Brit, quasi liberal with a touch of Tory. So take my comments with a pinch of salt as you have focused on a US perspective ...

Elinda wrote:
Should convicted felons get to vote while in prison, after serving their term or ever?


Personally ...No they should not be able to vote, I believe you should pay a price for your crimes. Your freedom is being stripped from you for a reason.
From a really lazy google I have found a link about the debate going on with UK/Europe over this very matter. While it worries me that I agree with Cameron, I do.

For ever after or only while serving time? It was hard to tell from Cameron's statement. I'm ok with felons losing the voting privlege while incarcerated and even while on parole (essentially while still a 'felon'). Once they've served their punishment they should be given back rights equal to anyone else. None of us are innocent beings. Most of us have broken the law, some even at the felonious level - but not been caught, or not be charged, or not been tried, or had a good lawyer and not sent to jail.

I think a proper democratic vote has to allow for human imperfection.

"We have the right to be stupid" Smiley: smile (I think I'm really digging our new SoS)
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