The founders were well versed in the miseries of majority rule and of the historical failures of democracies.
First, let me ask you a question. Is voting a right or a privilege? If you look at the numerous rights listed in the Declaration of Independence, and the constitution itself, there is no mention of voting rights. I prefer to look at it as a duty, but…For those who believe they have a “right to vote,” here’s a little history lesson.
We often forget in our time that those who created the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. government itself had been a distinct political minority for many years. They knew first hand how dangerous majority rule and democracies can be. They knew instinctively that when the mob gets rolling, the rights of individuals are of no consequence.So, they went about forming a government which would protect the rights of everyone, especially the minority, from the tyranny of mob rule (democracy).
“Trial, we don’t need no stinkin’ trial! He’s guilty, string him up!” They knew that in a democracy, no one’s rights are secure and that sooner or later the majority would find a way to sack the treasury and bleed it dry. That’s why they formed a representative republic. In a republic form of government, which we are guaranteed by the national and state constitutions, there must be a limited franchise to vote.
Voting in a republic is not a right, it is a privilege. The American founders then went one step further, and insisted that voting privileges be determined by each state legislature, not the national or federal government. It worked quite well for more than 100 years … then came “reconstruction” after the U.S. vs. CSA conflict in the 1860s. That’s when the socialist move for a “full democracy” began. It has flourished ever since, slowly but surely eroding the original guarantees of a republic form of government by planting ideas that every person has a “right to vote,” simply ignoring constitutional restraints against such a notion.”excerpt
The 14th Amendment permits states to deny the vote “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” In 32 states convicted felons have the “privilege” to vote. Only 13 states now forbid convicted felons from voting, with just nine of these imposing lifetime bans. Two states, Vermont and Maine, even allow felons currently doing time to vote like any other citizen. The fact is that it isn’t about the felon’s “rights". What it comes down to is states rights. Now don’t get me wrong, I know women, and blacks were denied their “duty” to vote, and this was wrong. However, this is a far cry from race or sex.
Ignoring the fact that the ACLU is trampling on states rights for the moment, I will defend the decision of these states as deserving applause. Felons include murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Why should those who break the law have any right to vote for those who make and enforce the law? Why should convicted criminal have any say in who becomes sheriff or judge? And why stop at the “right” to vote? Why not restore a convicted murderer the right to own a gun? Oh yeah…the ACLU doesn’t belive that is a right.Now, the subject of criminals serving time having some “right” to vote is just ludicrous to me. But when it comes to the subject of ex-prisoner felons being able to vote, it has to be approached with much more care.
Many believe that once a felon has served their time they have paid their price to society, and with their reinstated citizenship they should be given back it’s full privileges including that of voting. In many cases the person has learned their lesson, and goes back into society to contribute positively, a truly changed individual for the better. And personally, I think people like this should regain their citizenship in full with all of it’s benefits, including voting. But on the other hand, many come out of prison conditioned, and hardened, only to return to a life of crime…in many cases worse than before. In my opinion every citizen has a social contract with society, that once broken has also broken the trust of society. It really comes down to rehabilitation, and being given parole is not a true gauge to measure this by. I would have no problem giving ex-prisoner felons back their full citizen privileges after a specified period of time in which they commit no other felonies, and prove their good citizenship.
I know another argument from the left which states that laws denying formerly incarcerated criminals their “right” to vote is a remnant of the “old Jim Crow laws". These people believe the laws are racially motivated. They base their argument off of the statistics showing that almost one third of convicted felons are black.Instead of confronting the fact that a grossly disproportionate percentage of crime is committed by black men, however, they twist it around and claim it is another example of institutionalized white racism. Of course, they conveniently leave out the fact that any convicted felon, despite their race, loses the right to vote in the states that forbid it.
If you think the disproportionate amount of blacks convicted of felonies is due to a flawed judicial system, I will not argue with you. I also have qualms with our judicial system.
Despite all of the arguments, it all comes down to states’ rights. If a state has decides to make part of the punishment of a felony the loss of their voting privileges permanently, or to bear arms, this can not be infringed upon by the federal government, or the ACLU. Those who violate the rights of others have proven that they want the benefits of society without the burden of obeying its laws. They can hardly complain when a majority of their fellow citizens deny them the right to choose who make the laws. When one is convicted of a felony, they lose many rights and privileges. I definitely don’t think incarcerated felons should be able to vote, as the ACLU does. And as far as regaining those privileges once they finish their prison term….it shouldn’t be unconditional or automatic the way the ACLU thinks.
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