There’s no real public safety threat in allowing those who have completed their sentences—even those convicted of violent crimes—from expressing themselves at the ballot box.
According to the latest Reason-Rupe poll, 73 percent of Americans favor restoring voting rights to nonviolent drug offenders who have served their sentences, with strong majorities among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
Eighty-two percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Independents, and 66 percent of Republicans all favor allowing nonviolent drug offenders who have served their sentences to vote.
There were discrepancies between those of different racial/ethnic backgrounds, however. An overwhelming number of African-Americans—91 percent—are in favor. However, 72 percent of whites, and only 66 percent of Hispanics are in favor. Still, there are clear majorities among all three groups polled.
As things currently stand, only two states—Maine and Vermont—have no restrictions on voting for convicted felons. In these states, felons may even vote absentee from jail or prison. However, the majority of states pose some restrictions on voting for those who have been convicted of a felony. In eight states, voting restrictions are imposed on offenders incarcerated for a misdemeanor offense.
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