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Elections, Felons and voting rights oh my...

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posted on May, 7 2016 @ 08:29 PM
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Since I have seen this topic discussed I thought it would be a good idea to provide some information to help clarify the situation.

The eligibility to vote in the United States is established by the Federal Constitution as well as State laws. When the Constitution was drafted and ratified it did not spell out who was eligible to vote as that was considered a state issue. This created the issues of slaves, free slaves, Native Americans, women etc being denied the right to vote. That denial depended on what state you resided in and whether you fell into the categories above. As we all know the Federal Constitution did not apply to the states to start out with. That fact is important and will become clear. The US / States did not begin to address voting rights until 1868 and that came on the heels of the US Civil war. The 14th Amendment applied the Federal Constitution (almost all of it) to the states in 1868.

4 amendments, the 15th (1870), 19th (1920), 24th (1964) and 26th (1971), started addressing the groups who were originally not allowed to vote by allowing them to vote.

Eligibility to vote is located in section 2 of the 14th amendment.

14th Amendment to the US Constitution
* - 14th Amendment in depth.

Section 2
Section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.
Section 3.


So how do individuals who commit certain crimes lose their right to vote? The section in bold above, referencing "rebellion, or other crimes" is the basis for that. We know that when something is not specifically reserved to the Federal government it becomes the purview of the states (within certain parameters).

Felons -
Since section 2 of the 14th amendment uses the term "or other crimes", individuals convicted of serious crimes (felonies) had their eligibility to vote "suspended" by laws in each state. The "right to vote" does not appear in the US Constitution until the 4 amendments listed above were ratified.

The definition of "other crimes" is reserved to the states to define.

Legal challenge by convicted Felons - US Supreme Court Ruling.
* - Richardson vs. Ramirez - 1974

3 convicted felons in California brought suit against the State California arguing for the reinstatement of voting rights (class action lawsuit). The standard used by the CA Supreme Court was -

states must show that the voting restriction is necessary to a “compelling state interest,” and is the least restrictive means of achieving the state’s objective.


The CA Supreme Court ruled in favor of the convicted felons (Constitutional violation). On appeal it found its way to the US Supreme Court who ruled -

that a state does not have to prove that its felony disenfranchisement laws serve a compelling state interest.


Decision

The Court pointed to Section 2 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which exempted felony disenfranchisement laws from the heightened scrutiny given to other restrictions on the right to vote. The Court said that Section 2, which reduces a state’s representation in Congress if the state has denied the right to vote for any reason “except for participation in rebellion, or other crime,” distinguishes felony disenfranchisement from other forms of voting restrictions, which must be narrowly tailored to serve compelling state interests in order to be constitutional.


Counter argument

But, critics of the practice argue that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment allows, but does not represent an endorsement of, felony disenfranchisement statutes as constitutional in light of the equal protection clause and is limited only to the issue of reduced representation. The Court ruled in Hunter v. Underwood 471 U.S. 222, 232 (1985) that a state's crime disenfranchisement provision will violate Equal Protection if it can be demonstrated that the provision, as enacted, had "both [an] impermissible racial motivation and racially discriminatory impact." (The law in question also disenfranchised people convicted of vagrancy, adultery, and any misdemeanor "involving moral turpitude"; the test case involved two individuals who faced disenfranchisement for presenting invalid checks, which the state authorities had found to be morally turpid behavior.) A felony disenfranchisement law, which on its face is indiscriminate in nature, cannot be invalidated by the Supreme Court unless its enforcement is proven to racially discriminate and to have been enacted with racially discriminatory animus.



Current state status of convicted Felons and the right to vote

* - Unrestricted - any felon can vote even if still incarcerated - 2 States - Maine and Vermont

* - Ends after release - disenfranchisement ends once released from incarceration - 14 states - District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah.

* - Ends after Parole - 4 states - California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York.

* - Ends after probation - 19 states - Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia.

* - Circumstantial - 8 states - voting restored based on certain criteria involving the crime and can include any of the above categories.

* - Individual petition required - 3 states - The person convicted must petition the court to have the ability to vote restored.

As always sorry for the long post. If any of our legal guru's find an error let me know.

Hopefully this will help people understand the issue of convicted felons and the right to vote.

Feel free to add comments / concerns / thoughts / questions if you have any.



SOURCES
* - Cornell University Law School
* - Felony Disenfrachisement - Wikipedia
* - 14th Amendment - Wikipedia
* - 14th Amendment - Cornell University
* - Voting Rights in the US - Wikipedia
* - Voting Rights Act of 1965 - Cornell

edit on 7-5-2016 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 7 2016 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

Bravo!!! Excellent post and research -- thank you for the time and effort!

I didn't know half of this, and only kinda sorta vaguely knew the rest. Very interesting... now I have some links to go read...



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

Awesome argument. If it makes you feel better, they will have to change it eventually. America imprisons more people than any other nation on the planet. At some point, we'll have to give felons back their voting rights just to keep a required minimum voter turnout.



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 08:50 PM
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a reply to: Abysha

Personally I think convicted felons should have the right to vote. I think taking that ability away kind of defeats the whole purpose of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. What's the point in rebellion if we are going to behave in the same manner / areas we fought the British for.

On a positive note at least the states have criteria in place for them to be able to restore voting for convicted felons. The way the media / candidates discuss the issue it makes it sound worse than what it is in reality.



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 09:52 PM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

Great thread! S+F. It should be knowledge to all would be voters though, that your vote actually does not count, it only serves as an influence.

Electoral votes decide who the president is, and they are not bound to vote with the populace.

It hasn't happened, but theoretically a candidate could receive 100% of the populace vote but lose due to electoral votes.



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 10:11 PM
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a reply to: Vector99

Actually 29 states have laws that require the electoral college to vote for the person who won the popular vote in their state -

Alabama (Code of Ala. §17-19-2)
Alaska (Alaska Stat. §15.30.090)
California (Election Code §6906)
Colorado (CRS §1-4-304)
Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat. §9-176)
Delaware (15 Del C §4303)
District of Columbia (§1-1312(g))
Florida (Fla. Stat. §103.021(1))
Hawaii (HRS §14-28)
Maine (21-A MRS §805)
Maryland (Md Ann Code art 33, §8-505)
Massachusetts (MGL, ch. 53, §8)
Michigan (MCL §168.47)
Mississippi (Miss Code Ann §23-15-785)
Montana (MCA §13-25-104)
Nebraska (§32-714)
Nevada (NRS §298.050)
New Mexico (NM Stat Ann §1-15-9)
North Carolina (NC Gen Stat §163-212)
Ohio (ORC Ann §3505.40)
Oklahoma (26 Okl St §10-102)
Oregon (ORS §248.355)
South Carolina (SC Code Ann §7-19-80)
Tennessee (Tenn Code Ann §2-15-104(c))
Utah (Utah Code Ann §20A-13-304)
Vermont (17 VSA §2732)
Virginia (§24.2-203)
Washington (RCW §29.71.020)
Wisconsin (Wis Stat §7.75)
Wyoming (Wyo Stat §22-19-108)

The remaining 21 states have no requirement.


edit on 7-5-2016 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

Look into it. None of those statutes listed requires what you said.

They only require the elector to vote, not whom to vote for.



posted on May, 7 2016 @ 11:15 PM
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a reply to: Vector99

Florida -

103.011 Electors of President and Vice President.—Electors of President and Vice President, known as presidential electors, shall be elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each year the number of which is a multiple of 4. Votes cast for the actual candidates for President and Vice President shall be counted as votes cast for the presidential electors supporting such candidates. The Department of State shall certify as elected the presidential electors of the candidates for President and Vice President who receive the highest number of votes.



Nebraska -

(2) The Secretary of State shall provide each presidential elector with a presidential and vice-presidential ballot. Each at-large presidential elector shall mark his or her ballot for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in the state and consistent with his or her pledge. Each congressional district presidential elector shall mark his or her ballot for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in his or her congressional district and consistent with his or her pledge.



Washington State -

In the year in which a presidential election is held, each major political party and each minor political party or independent candidate convention that nominates candidates for president and vice president of the United States shall nominate presidential electors for this state. The party or convention shall file with the secretary of state a certificate signed by the presiding officer of the convention at which the presidential electors were chosen, listing the names and addresses of the presidential electors. Each presidential elector shall execute and file with the secretary of state a pledge that, as an elector, he or she will vote for the candidates nominated by that party. The names of presidential electors shall not appear on the ballots. The votes cast for candidates for president and vice president of each political party shall be counted for the candidates for presidential electors of that political party; however, if the interstate compact entitled the "agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote," as set forth in RCW 29A.56.300, governs the appointment of the presidential electors for a presidential election as provided in clause 9 of Article III of that compact, then the final appointment of presidential electors for that presidential election shall be in accordance with that compact.


I can keep going however as you can see the states in the list require the electoral college vote for the candidate who wins the state. I think the confusion is how its worded. It requires delegates of the electoral college to vote for the person listed on the ballot for their party and no one else.

It means if Trump wins in one of the states listed above the electoral college for that state is required to cast their vote for trump. They cannot cast their vote for anyone else.

If you want we can start a separate thread to talk about the electoral college.
edit on 7-5-2016 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 12:04 AM
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a reply to: Xcathdra



If you want we can start a separate thread to talk about the electoral college.

Actually I think that would be an incredible thread. I have been tempted to make one as of recent, but I'm not 100% on how it all works. I have a very good grasp on it, and actually as of late have been looking a lot into it.

If you make the thread I will contribute to it 100% all of my knowledge that I've found regarding the electoral system.

It would be a great thread now considering the current US election, so we all have a better idea of how it all works.



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 12:07 AM
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a reply to: Vector99

Works for me.. Give me a few days to collect info. I'll shoot you a U2U when its up.



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 04:32 AM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

That still means in 21 states they dont and your vote may be useless. 21 is still alot.



Anyway as for felons voting? I think they should ONCE RELEASED and parole ended.

But end of the day I think it should be left to the states to decide.



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 04:36 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok



But end of the day I think it should be left to the states to decide.

At the end of the day, it is.



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 09:57 AM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

That was an amazing, well-written and educational piece. I didn't know much of what you posted.




posted on May, 8 2016 @ 10:46 AM
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originally posted by: Abysha
a reply to: Xcathdra

Awesome argument. If it makes you feel better, they will have to change it eventually. America imprisons more people than any other nation on the planet. At some point, we'll have to give felons back their voting rights just to keep a required minimum voter turnout.

Or the rich can buy their way out of felon status while everyone else attains such status and the right to vote is returned to the wealthy.



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 10:58 AM
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I had my felony expunged/dismissed after several years of struggling to find decent employeement last week

When I asked my attorney about my second amendment rights she said they are not restored and that my record sill still show up on that record check.


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


It's very clear. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

Now I paid my debt to society, I became an active member in a more modern Christian Church for a long time and the pastor was the head of Santa Barbara County mental health and he wrote me a two page long referral and contact the DA for me just because he thought I deserved it and he wanted to help.

I plan on hiring an attorney and seeking out a pardon from the state and I also plan on challenging the constitutionality of lifelong sentences.

The condition applys to every citizen of this nation including me and you damn sell better believe I'm fighting for that right back because I'm not a criminal I just made a mistake and I don't deserve anymore pu ishmemt



posted on May, 8 2016 @ 12:35 PM
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a reply to: onequestion

We need more people like you who fight for our rights.

This is the kind of thing a real SJW does.




posted on May, 8 2016 @ 11:47 PM
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The Electoral College explained -
www.abovetopsecret.com...



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