Felon Voting

by Roger Clegg

The issue of whether felons should be allowed to vote typically garners more attention during election years, and 2012 is no exception. The NAACP has announced a big campaign to enfranchise felons, and various liberal columnists are weighing in, too. I’ve written on this topic for NRO in the past (see for example this and, most recently, this)  and testified before Congress about it a couple of times. The Federalist Society recently published a version of my most recent testimony. My bottom line: If you aren’t willing to follow the law yourself, then you can’t demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she has really turned over a new leaf, not automatically on the day someone walks out of prison. The unfortunate fact is that most people who walk out of prison will be walking back in.

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