Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Should felons be allowed political rights?

King County has ruled James C. Garrett, a convicted felon who filed as a candidate for Mayor of Seattle, can't vote. They are also taking steps to take Garrett off the ballot altogether.

State law prevents felons from participating in the electoral process unless and until their rights are restored by court order. Although this issue played a major role in the recent gubernatorial election contest, it has been a continuing controversy in election law circles for several years. The debate isn't merely about civil rights either, because the prevailing assumption is that felons tend to vote Democratic.

So, here are the questions:

1. Do felons tend to vote Democratic? Or are they more likely to vote Libertarian? Or Republican? Or Green?
2. Should felons be deprived of their right to vote? And if so, for how long?


Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

I think past research has found that they tend to vote Democrat, but I don't know whether third parties were included in those studies.

I think they should be able to vote. Otherwise there is too much incentive to create laws that single out groups whose political power you want to suppress. Making drugs that were historically favored by minorities illegal while allowing drugs historically favored by whites (alcohol, tobacco, caffiene) to remain legal is a great example of this.

12:05 PM  

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