Prisoners Should Maintain Their Right to Vote

Throughout most of the United States, incarcerated people lose their right to vote while in prison. However, there is a small but controversial movement to re-enfranchise inmates since voting is a fundamental right for all Americans.

With all of the existing disparities in the U.S. justice system, by not allowing prisoners to vote, the country is effectively if not intentionally disenfranchising people of color and people living in poverty at much higher rates than their counterparts.

Every step of the way, people of color are more likely to be policed, arrested, charged, convicted and given a harsher sentence than white people for similar crimes. Meanwhile, the wealthy evade punishment and not only get to keep voting, but buy the elections that lead to the laws (or lack there of) that keep them from getting in trouble.

It's dangerous for a country to say "these people can't vote" because it encourages law enforcement to lock up more people it doesn't want to see vote and opens the door for disenfranchising more people.

Besides, prisoners in Vermont, Maine and county prisoners in California already get to vote, and it's not leading to some mass pandemonium of lawlessness. It's time to guarantee all Americans the right to vote, even those currently paying their debts to society.

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