Should felons be allowed to vote?
January 18th, 2012
02:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Should felons be allowed to vote?

(CNN) - At Monday's Republican debate in South Carolina, candidates sparred over whether people with felony convictions should be allowed to vote.

Former Senator Rick Santorum said he supports felons regaining the right to vote after they've completed their sentences, and noted that felony disenfranchisement disproportionately affects black voters.

Mitt Romney said as governor of Massachusetts, he disagreed: "I think people who committed violent crimes should not be allowed to vote again."

Voting rights advocates say the argument could come up more often in the near future – with 2.3 million people currently incarcerated, states are rethinking whether the court's punishment is enough, or if people who've committed felonies will continue to pay for their crimes through disenfranchisement.


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. gt

    should depend on the crime ...murde rand rape ..hell no..

    January 18, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    If they have completed their sentences, including parole and probation (if applicable), then hey have paid their debt to society and their franchise should be reinstated.

    January 18, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Stop getting caught up with the 'Romney said this, and the Newtered did that'.
    VOTING LAWS, especifically changing them coupled with redistricting is how the Rethugs plan to STEAL the election in 2012.
    How else do you think Romney would have a chance at the White House if not by disenfranchising those that voted for President Obama in 2008: Blacks, students, the poor, AND the military.
    KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN and stop being distracted by the shiny things.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    January 18, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. truefax

    It pains me to say this but Santorum is right (excuse me while I go wash up).

    January 18, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |

    Yes!!!! My take on it is this. If you've served your time, your rights should not be withheld from you PERIOD!!! Here's a hypothetical: If you've served your time, you have a job, but your not allowed to vote, why should you be taxed at all??? You're seen by the governement as non-existant.

    January 18, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. cathy raats

    Of course they should be re-in franchised once their sentences are complete. Or does society continue to regard them as "half" people?

    January 18, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Our system is supposed to allow individuals to pay their debt to society and return as productive members of the community. By not allowing them to vote you build a wall excluding them from that opportunity. Can you sincerely expect people to become model citizens when they are forever considered criminals?

    January 18, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    People with felony convictions don’t lose their citizenship am I right so the y have rights to vote

    January 18, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    What earthly difference does this make in the election of a President? There are plenty of issues that are far more important. This was just a result of a rather desperate ploy by Santorum to score points against Romney in the last debate.

    January 18, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm not as concerned about ex-felons voting right now as I am about the fact that the GOP, with no new ideas and no plans, is working very hard to take away the right to vote of law abiding citizens, as we speak. Why the media isn't screaming about this from coast to coast tells me exactly what I need to know about corporate owned media these days.

    January 18, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Royal

    The biggest crooks have yet to be convicted willars and the repugnant party / tea Baggers/ confederate lovers, buddies who reside on WALLSTREET are true criminals bs white collar they destroyed more lives then then the common felon. And we know there not many

    January 18, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Gurgi

    I agree with Santorum, paid their debt to society, have a job, restore their right.

    Lately dominican momma and tsah from virgina have been sounding more and more like angry black women. Stop sounding like michele obama. You are perpetuating the stereotype.

    January 18, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |

    If you are a Repubican,Hell no.

    January 18, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Woman In California

    It depends ENTIRELY on the crime. Murder (especially of a pregnant woman, rape, incest and kidnapping) no exceptions. Period.

    January 18, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Just a Thought

    I think they should be allowed to vote as long as their sentence is complete. However, I hate the phrase "repaid their debt to society." They will never repay their debt. They can't take back what they have done, or fix the lives they have altered through their previous decisions.

    January 18, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Depends upon your definition of felon. Felons in prisons should not be allowed to vote. Once someone has paid their debt to society, then they should be granted the right to vote. You can only punish someone for so long, and people are supposed to be protected from double jeopardy.

    January 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. denise

    why not when they are working they paid taxes just like the rest of us .

    January 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Independent Voters

    They should be allow to vote. They american citizen regard of what crime they did. If they pay taxes and did time for the crime. Santorum should do a press conference about felon should be allow to vote.
    I think every state should have there citizen to vote on that in November general election.

    January 18, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Sorensen

    For once, Sanatorium is right. WOW,

    January 18, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |