Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States

The United States denies voting rights to ex-convicts, parolees, probationers and prisoners on a scale incomparable among democratic nations. State laws concerning voting eligibility differ from no disenfranchisement in some states, to permanent disenfranchisement in others. Little historical research exists explaining how and why certain states have retained disenfranchisement while others have revised these laws. This article discusses California as a seemingly excellent example of reform in order to improve current explanations of disenfranchisement.

Through widespread research and a content analysis of a key media source, this article explains how and why California changed its disenfranchisement laws in 1974. The results suggest that repeal of disenfranchisement may be related to the actions and framing strategies of reformers and the presence of advocacy organization. The article discusses which states currently practice felon disenfranchisement making it a great reference when needing examples and statistics on the topic. (145) Dinan, John.

"The Adoption of Criminal Disenfranchisement Provisions in the United States: Lessons from the State Constitutional Convention Debates. " Journal of Policy History 19. 3 (2007): 282-312. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. Dinan discusses the importance of examining debate records associated with the approval of criminal disenfranchisement provisions in the United States. A study that focuses on these debates may provide a good chance for the various justifications for state criminal disenfranchisement provisions throughout the American history to prevail.

It may also trigger other people to launch further inquiries regarding criminal disenfranchisement for more information so that it may be used as guide in the U. S. Congress. Also discussed in the article is that state convention delegates have engaged in continuous debate about the merits of these provisions. One argument voiced frequently by supporters of criminal disenfranchisement is that it is a fitting punishment for certain forms of criminal behavior and might also decrease crime rates in the future.

The text covers who have researched criminal disenfranchisement and what they intended to do with that research. This information could definitely be used in an argument or proposal concerning the practice. (158) Ewald, Alec C. "Criminal Disenfranchisement and the Challenge of American Federalism. " Publius: The Journal of Federalism 39. 3 (2009): 527-556. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. In the article, Ewald reviews recent developments in the American felony disenfranchisement laws.

The variables' that play a deciding role in a state's likelihood of enacting reform is examined. He believes initial policy strictness is a strong predictor of restriction-relaxing change, as most of the dozen states that have passed reforms on felony disenfranchisement in the last decade began with very restrictive policies. It is argues that entrepreneurship by African American and Democratic lawmakers has been important, but many Republicans conclude that debating disenfranchisement can be advantageous to them, as well.

The article concludes by examining two problems: whether prohibition follows a person who is relocating from one state to another, and whether Congress has the constitutional authority to liberate former offenders under certain circumstances. Ewald's article offers a view of criminal disenfranchisement from a Federal view point. This could be beneficial in describing the differences between State and Federal practices. (151) Friedman, Anne Kiehl. "Voter Disenfranchisement and Policy toward Election Reforms. " Review of Policy Research 22. 6 (2005): 787-810. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Feb. 2012.

Friedman's article discusses the key factors, including, level of poverty, race, population density, and other demographic characteristics, that affected disenfranchisement in the 2004 elections. She argues that there are two forms disenfranchisement: partisan disenfranchisement and structural disenfranchisement. Using demographic statistics from the United States census in 2000 and voting data, Friedman, she relates these variables with the incidence of voter disenfranchisement for the three "swing" states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with the states of California and Texas used as controls.

Disenfranchisement has transformed from formal and governmentally established, to indirect and commonly overlooked. This text offers a lot of back ground information on disenfranchisement. It could be easily used to give the reader a more in depth history of the subject before diving directly into the issue. Page two of the text offers a detailed explanation of the two different kinds of disenfranchisement and how they affect their respective income classes. (152) Hinchcliff, Abigail M. "The "Other" Side of Richardson V. Ramirez: A Textual Challenge to Felon Disenfranchisement.

" Yale Law Journal 121. 1 (2011): 194-236. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. Under Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, States have the right to revoke an individual's voting rights or, disenfranchise, them based on acts of rebellion, or other crime while still maintaining the same number of representatives in the House of Representatives. This means that even though these citizens cannot vote in State elections, they are still counted in the State's total population, which determines the number of Representatives a State can have.

In the Supreme Court's 1974 decision in the case of Richardson v. Ramirez, the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment provides "affirmative sanction" for disenfranchisement. The information in the article could easily be used to make a case against felon disenfranchisement. It provides highly detailed information on a federal court case about racially biased disenfranchisement. The text supports the argument that the practice is unconstitutional since it blocks roughly 5. 3 million Americans from voting, that is 2. 4 percent of the qualified population.