Should felons, who have completed their jail time and probation and paid all their fines, be allowed to vote in elections?
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position.
Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 18, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"The nature of the crime of which the felon was committed should be taken into consideration in determining whether a particular felon should be allowed to vote in elections. This is a matter to be determined at the state level, not by the Federal government." Aug. 18, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
"This is a State rather than a federal issue, because the Supreme Court has held that States may prohibit felons from voting, and most States do. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically recognizes that the right to vote may be taken away if a person commits a crime...
The right to vote should be restored to felons only on a case by case basis after they have served their full sentences and have satisfactorily demonstrated that they have turned over a new leaf." Aug. 20, 2008 John McCain
Cynthia McKinney, former US House Representative (D-GA), stated in an Aug. 9, 2002 BlackElectorate.com article titled "Hip-Hop Fridays: Davey D's Exclusive Interview With Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney":
"In Georgia, where I represent the Fourth Congressional District, a convicted felon loses the right to vote until his or her sentence has been completed and that convicted felon must no longer be serving probation or parole, owe no fines. It should come as no surprise that Georgia has a disproportionate number of black males incarcerated for felony convictions.
In a state with traditionally low voter turn out and where one in four registered voters is black, it is evident that every possible vote counts and every black voter can make a tremendous difference in who gets elected. Between August 1, 1997, and July 31, 1998, 6,765 persons lost the right to vote because of felony convictions. Of this number, 3,087 -- half -- were black males. Georgia, in my view, is practicing vote dilution and vote denial....
I must point out, that in the United States between 1985 and 1995 the number of prisoners with sentences of more than 1 year rose by over 600,000. The number of black males in prison increased by 143 percent and the number of black females in prison increased by 204 percent. On December 31, 1995, an estimated 3.2 percent of all black males were in prison, compared with less than half of 1 percent of all white males. In 1995, black males were seven times more likely to be in prison than white males...
To sum it up, in my view, the United States is practicing vote dilution and vote denial." Aug. 9, 2002 Cynthia McKinney
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, issued the following statement through his Communications Director and Policy Writer, Loralynne Krobetzky, in an Oct. 20, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"Pro- Restore the voting rights of people who are in prison or on parole. The stripping of voting rights of convicted felons, many of them drug war victims, has eliminated the voting rights of 1 out of 6 African American males. Loss of voting rights is no deterrent to crime, but it is a deterrent to rehabilitation." Oct. 20, 2008 Ralph Nader