The political debate for and against felon disenfranchisement has compelling arguments on both sides. In the US, over 6 million felons are barred from voting due to laws that prevent felons with a sentence to vote (Chung). The number of imprisoned has been growing over the past 40 years, as the increasing number of imprisoned felons is directly correlated with an increasing number of disenfranchised felons. However, a more jarring statistic reveals that most disenfranchised felons in the United States are of a racial or ethnic minority. Based on information from the 2010 US Census Bureau, about 36 percent of disenfranchised felons are African American. The large percentage also puts a different scope on felon disenfranchisement laws as these …show more content…
The Voting Rights Act was passed in order to stop states from prohibiting any laws or actions that could potentially hinder the ability for a minority to vote (DMS Chapter 3). This act gives the federal government more power in how states run elections. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is what defines a state’s ability to not being able to pass a discriminatory disenfranchisement law. This section centers on voter dilution, which are the processes that make voting for candidates difficult for racial or ethnic minorities (Clark lecture, Jan. 25). On the basis of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, felony disenfranchisement laws can be seen as a form of voter dilution because these laws are disproportionally affecting a large number of African American minorities in prison. The discussion of whether felony disenfranchisement laws violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act can be seen the Supreme Court case, Hayden v. Pataki. This court case was filed in 2003 and the plaintiffs of the case are challenging the felony disenfranchisement laws of New York. The plaintiffs argued that these laws were a violation of the second section of the Voting Rights Act because it disenfranchised a larger number of blacks and Latinos in prison than whites (“Key Issues in Hayden v. Pataki”). In the end, a majority of the judges ruled that the section 2 of the VRA is too ambiguous, thus the section cannot be applied to the felony disenfranchisement laws in New York, as the original intent of the VRA was not focused on felon disenfranchisement laws (“Key Issues in Hayden v. Pataki”). However, based on the dissenting opinions of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the second section of the Voting Rights Act clearly states that no state should be able to pass a law that emplaces a “voter qualification”, which bars a certain racial minority’s ability to vote (Goldstein
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Constitution place on state’s power to determine voter qualifications? Those limitations start with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act prohibits racial discrimination when voting in the local, state, and federal levels. “Section 2, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color” (ourdocuments.gov). Not since the reconstruction period after the civil war had there been such a “significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments” (ourdocuments.gov).
This act closed loopholes left in the Civil Rights Act of 1960 and extended powers and more freedoms to African American people. The Act provided more power to the Civil Rights Commission allowing members of the commission to take statements and oaths from witnesses. This allowed for easier persecution, investigation, and action to be taken in matters involving the civil rights movement. The Act also reiterates that all who have been given the legal right to vote shall not be deprived of this right on the basis of colour or race. It states a person obstructing someone’s legal right to vote shall face the “constitute contempt of court”.
The 15th Amendment (Amendment XV), which gave African-American men the right to vote, was inserted into the U.S. Constitution on March 30, 1870. Passed by Congress the year before, the amendment says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although the amendment was passed in the late 1870s, many racist practices were used to oppose African-Americans from voting, especially in the Southern States like Georgia and Alabama. After many years of racism, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed to overthrow legal barricades at the state and local levels that deny African-Americans their right to vote. In the
To accomplish social equality and justice has been a long controversial issue in U.S. history. Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be understood as a tremendous accomplishment today because it not only represent a symbol of the triumph of fighting social injustice, but also open the first gate for African American and minority to strive for more political power in order to create a “great society.”
http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/felons-voting-rights-history/2015/04/16/id/638889/ "Disfranchisement." West 's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Retrieved May 01, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437701425.html “Felon Voting.” ProCon. 2008.
Even though the government adopted the Voting Rights Act in 1965, African Americans’ suffrages were still restricted because of southern states’ obstructions. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was important for blacks to participate in political elections, but before this act was passed, there were several events led to its proposal. The government gave African Americans’ the right to vote by passing the 15th Amendment, but in the Southern States, blacks’ suffrages were limited by grandfather clauses, “poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic restrictions” (ourdocuments.gov). As times went on, most African Americans couldn’t register their votes.
Is it fair that an African American man is sentenced up to life in prison for possession of drugs when Brock Turner is sentenced to only 14 years, later to be reduced to six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious women. The judiciary system are believed to have a high african american incarceration rate as a result of discrimination. At a presidential debate on Martin Luther King Day, President Barack Obama said that “Blacks and whites are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, and receive very different sentences… for the same crime.” Hillary Clinton said the “disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more african americans proportionately than whites.”
They have limited us with many resources we “can do” but still violate those laws and don’t get punished for it. As it is cited on Source # 2: from “ The Franchise of the Negro” by Charles W. Chesnutt says, “The object of the elective franchise is to give representation. So long as the Constitution retains its present form, any State Constitution, or statute, which seeks, by juggling the ballot, to deny the colored race fair representation, is a clear violation of the
The Voting Rights Act was passed into law on August 6, 1965. The law prohibited the use of poll taxes and literacy tests that prevented Southern Blacks from voting. It also gave the federal government authority to supervise how poll taxes are conducted within places with disfranchised African Americans. After the Civil War, regardless of the 15th amendment, which banned the states from denying the right to vote of male citizens based on their race or previous condition of servitude before the war, discrimination was still around, prevented African Americans from voting. Many voting rights activists were also being mistreated violently.
First of all, a felon should not be allowed to vote because, their judgement is questionable. A felon is an individual who has committed a serious crime, typically involving violence, and usually serves more than a year in imprisonment. Children and mentally incompetent individuals are not allowed to vote due to their judgement being unquestionable (Shaw, Jerry 2015). A felon’s judgment is just as, if not more problematic. Not only is their judgement questionable, but individuals who commit felonies are typically untrustworthy.
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
Over time our Constitution of the United States has given us more voting privileges. We’ve allowed most of our population to be able to vote now in 2017. The only people who can’t are people under the age of 18, aren’t registered, or not a citizen. At one point in time only a select group of people were able to.
It 's been 51 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law, yet it seems as if voter discrimination may still be going on today. Some of the legal barriers, that it was originally meant to overcome, such as preventing African Americans from voting, have been rising in many other forms through voter identification laws. Lizette Alvarez in "G.O.P. Legislators Move to Tighten Rules on Voting", discusses some of the requirements that Republicans have tried to add to voter identification laws over many years such as photo ID’s. Kristen Clarke in "Burdening The Right To Vote: Assessing The Impact Of Mandatory Photo Identification Requirements On Minority Voting Strength", discusses how requiring photo ID’s can greatly affect African
The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for several reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. This literature review will discuss the ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system and how mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism has become a problem.