Are Criminals Able To Vote?

Bernie Sanders Wants To Let Criminals Vote, But That's Not Even The Real Issue

Land of the free, but only for those deemed worthy.


To Sanders, the right to vote is unquestionable. Considering enfranchisement as unchallengeable, Sanders went so far as to suggest terrorists such as the Boston marathon bombers should have the right to vote. For Sanders, it's simple: if you're an American citizen, your right to vote should not be questioned. In a statement given last month, Sanders stressed the issue: "Not whether you're rich or you're poor, you're white or you're black, not whether you're a good person or a not good person. It is inalienable."

Voting has forever been an issue in this country. For centuries, different groups of people have been refused the right to vote based on the color of their skin, their gender, citizenship status, etc. For all the reasons, just listed, people should not have to worry about voting. Skin color, gender, sexuality...these are not choices. Citizenship status, if granted, should allow people voting rights without concern. The American Dream can and still should be an achievable dream.

But Senator Sanders, criminality is a choice. And criminality is a real issue that should not be overlooked. When crimes are committed, punishment should follow, and that punishment should include the temporary ineligibility to vote. However, once the time has been served, an individual's voting rights should be restored.

In the U.S., voting rights for felons vary by state. Some states restore rights immediately following sentence completion, while others require a petition to the government to have individual rights restored. Below is an overview of state guidelines.

Voting rights retained while in prison for a felony conviction in: Maine and Vermont.

Voting rights restored automatically upon release from prison in: The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah

Voting rights restored automatically once released from prison and discharged from parole (probationers can vote) in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oklahoma, New York

Voting rights restored automatically upon completion of sentence, including prison, parole, and probation in: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey. New Mexico North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Virginia now does this by the policy of the current governor.

Voting rights restoration is dependent on the type of conviction and/or the outcome of an individual petition or application to the government in: Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Wyoming

Voting rights can ONLY be restored through an individual petition or application to the government in: Iowa and Kentucky

Here's where I disagree with Sanders. If you committed a crime, you must serve the time, and part of that sentence should include disenfranchisement. Once released, voting rights should be granted.

BUT, this doesn't matter unless society realizes who is being put in prison and who's voting rights are being taken. The argument over criminals being eligible to vote is a distraction from a larger, more concerning issue: mass incarceration.

The focus should be dismantling a system that continues to produce and reproduce systemic discrimination and inequality. There is no need to debate whether criminals should be allowed to vote if people aren't entering prisons in the first place.

The debate with Sanders over the status of criminals and their voting rights became a conversation about terrorists like Dylann Roof and the Boston Marathon bombers, criminals on the extreme end of the spectrum. But what about the millions of low income and black and brown people who are imprisoned for nonviolent offenses?

I'm not saying criminals shouldn't do their time, but maybe America needs a better system in place, one that will treat citizens based on the degree of their crime and not the degree of their blackness.

Slavery may be long eradicated, and the Jim Crow era may be in the past, but the current conditions of mass incarceration have only been a replacement of the old discriminatory practices of the 19th and 20th century. Progress is hard to make when the tools required are concentrated in the hands of the powerful elite. But the first step is ensuring fair representation.

Criminals should not vote because of the mere fact that they're criminals. My point: criminals are criminal...unless they aren't. The US must stop criminalizing blackness. When will America see a day when a black man can walk down the street without fear of arrest? Stop criminalizing based on appearance, but in the meantime...the real criminals don't need to worry about their next elected official.

Popular Right Now

18 Bible Verses That Prove God Would NOT Be 'Pro-Life'

Stop using the Bible as an excuse to take away women's rights.


"Abortion is WRONG because God (the highest authority) says so! Not because I say so, or "religious" people say so or the government says so...because the CREATOR OF ALL HUMAN LIFE SAYS SO."

This argument is bullshit and I'm sick of hearing it, because it just isn't true. All these Christians claim that the Bible and God says that abortion is wrong, and it's clear they've never read the Bible. Have you ever seen them use a biblical verse to validate their claims? Yeah, me neither. And you know why? BECAUSE THE BIBLE IS NOT PRO-LIFE. They pick and choose vague verses to attempt to back up these ridiculous claims, completely ignoring the damning evidence that the Bible, and therefore God, actually supports child murder, infanticide, and abortion.

Unlike pro-lifers, I'll actually provide some evidence:

1. Numbers 31:17 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him"

2. Deuteronomy 2:34 "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain"

3. Deuteronomy 28:53 "And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the seige, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee"

4. 1 Samuel 15:3 "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass"

5. Isaiah 13:16 "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished"

6. Isaiah 13:18 "Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children"

7. Ezekiel 9:6 "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house"

8. Hosea 9:14 "Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts"

9. Hosea 13:16 "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up"

10. 2 Kings 2:24 "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them"

11. Psalm 137:9 "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones"

12. Numbers 5:21 "-here the priest is to put the woman under his curse- "may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell"

13. Hosea 9:16 "Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb"

14. Psalm 135:8 "He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast;"

15. Psalm 136:10 "-to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever"

16. 2 Kings 6:28-29 "And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.So we boiled by son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son"

17. Leviticus 26:29 "And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat"

18. Jeremiah 11:22 "Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:"

Stop using your religion to try and push propoganda that "God says abortion is wrong because it kills innocent children." Clearly your God doesn't care about killing children. There is more than enough proof that the Bible and God are NOT pro-life. Stop acting like you're good Christians upholding the values of God when you clearly haven't picked up the Bible and actually read it. God doesn't agree with your backwards thinking. Maybe try do your research before spewing your religious bullshit to try and take away women's rights.

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