David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Felony disenfranchisement is best understood as a means of vote suppression. Quite apart from its significance as a form of criminal stigma, disenfranchisement is most properly characterized as one of the ways in which the American voting system reserves political participation for a privileged social and intellectual class. Thus understood, felony disenfranchisement reveals the theoretical underpinnings of an exclusionary version of American democracy in which more or less widespread disenfranchisement is an acceptable or necessary political tactic. Felony disenfranchisement should not be characterized as a sanction for criminal conduct: It fits none of the usual justifications for punishment. Most commentators agree that felony disenfranchisement as a collateral sanction for criminal conduct stigmatizes alike a disparate collection of individuals convicted of crimes carrying a penalty of one year or more - everything from drug possession to murder - and extends, in many instances, long after former felons have completed their sentences. Justifications for refusing the vote to felons, and to former felons who are no longer incarcerated, are surprisingly weak and clearly related to larger issues of democratic participation. Accordingly, it is under the framework of democratic participation that the most persuasive justifications of disenfranchisement might be found. Under the framework of democratic participation, the disenfranchisement debate implicates competing theories of democracy, each of which has profound consequences for the constitution of the American polity. I contend that there are currently three models for the right to vote in American society: (1) a membership model premised upon popular participation in the democratic process as an expression of citizenship; (2) a deliberative model in which popular participation is conditioned upon the duty to be an informed and reflective citizen; and (3) an elite model entrenching political office in a political class that competes for votes among the electoral masses. The continuing vitality of these three models at the level of political debate and constitutional doctrine unsettles the dominant history of the franchise as one of progress from an exclusionary to an inclusionary extension of the mandate, and requires us to acknowledge felony disenfranchisement as part of a larger process of voter exclusion and suppression.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeffrey Reiman (2005). Liberal and Republican Arguments Against the Disenfranchisement of Felons. Criminal Justice Ethics 24 (1):3-18.
Andrew Altman (2005). Democratic Self-Determination and the Disenfranchisement of Felons. Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (3):263–273.
Jonathan Rothchild (2011). Dispenser of the Mercy of the Government: Pardons, Justice, and Felony Disenfranchisement. Journal of Religious Ethics 39 (1):48-70.
Richard L. Lippke (2001). The Disenfranchisement of Felons. Law and Philosophy 20 (6):553 - 580.
Nicholas Munn (2011). The Limits of Criminal Disenfranchisement. Criminal Justice Ethics 30 (3):223-239.
Michael Cholbi (2002). A Felon's Right to Vote. Law and Philosophy 21 (4/5):543-564.
L. R. (2001). The Disenfranchisement of Felons. Law and Philosophy 20 (6):553-580.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads12 ( #141,905 of 1,410,220 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #52,180 of 1,410,220 )
How can I increase my downloads?