Let me make this clear first: The practice of letting convicts and felons vote is a thing, yet not all countries abide by this. Of course, we know that since basic laws work in every county, some laws may differ from what we are used to. Thus, this is especially true on how each country handles prisoners. What I mean by this not how they are treated, but on how much degree of freedom they have when incarcerated. One of this freedom, or rights, is if they can vote for the elections or not.
In the US, it is apparent that some states let these fellows vote. Of course, it still depends on the felon voting rights per state. Thus, this also applies to some countries around the world.
Is It A Right Or A Privilege Of A Convict To Vote?
In essence, all people, no matter who they are, their ethnicity, religion, or beliefs, have the right to vote. Thus, this is true, and every free country in the world follows this to some degree, depending on their country’s status. Some states may permit convicts to vote no matter what the crimes they do or may enable a convict to vote depending on their sentence. In short, some countries may treat this as a right of a person, no matter if they are in and out of prison.
Let us first check the laws about felon voting rights around the US. We have listed here prominent US states and the way they handle these rights.
Convicts still have the right to vote even when they are still serving their prison time in these following states:
- Maine and Vermont – Voting rights are automatically restored to the convict once they are released from prison in these states:
- Hawaii, Illinois, The District of Columbia, Maryland, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Montana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Oregon, Ohio, Utah, and Pennsylvania. – Voting Rights are restored right away after being released from prison and also discharged from parole in these states (probationers can vote too):
- Colorado, Oklahoma, California, New York, and Connecticut- Voting Rights have renewed automatically after completing a prison sentence, which includes parole and probation in these states:
- Arkansas, Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Mexico, Missouri, New Jersey, Nebraska, Virginia, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, Virginia, and Wisconsin. – Voting Rights can only be given once again if the ex-convict can go for a petition, or apply once again to the government after serving time in prison in:
- Kentucky and Iowa – Voting rights can be restored once again. And depending on the crime committed. It can also depend on the outcome of the person in question’s application to the government in these states:
- Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wyoming, and Delaware – Of course, each state has its very own way on how to grant the person his or her voting rights once again. Duration of the process and how the process is handled depends on the state law too.
Felon Voting Around The World
Of course, other countries around the world have their very own ways on how to handle a convict’s right to vote. And may they be still serving their sentence or already freed. Here are a few counties that have their laws on a convict’s right to vote:
(Some countries here may be mentioned more than once, and that only means that these laws apply to them altogether.)
- Countries that enable felons to vote while still serving prison time are as follows:
Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
- Countries that may ban convicts from voting during their sentence depending on legal factors:
Australia, Belgium (Bans ex-convicts from voting after their release if their sentence is over seven years), Bosnia, France, Germany (Can ban felons if ordered by the court), Greece, Iceland (Bans voting for felons whose prison sentence is four years or lower), Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and The United States (This totally depends on the state).
- Here are some countries that ban convicts while still serving their prison sentence:
Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Russia, San Marino, and the United Kingdom.
- Countries that even bans convicts while serving the prison sentence, and also after their release from prison, may it be due to parole or after serving their prison years:
Armenia, Belgium (as stated above), Chile, and The United States (depending on the state laws).
As stated above, said countries have different laws and processes on how they handle a convict’s right for voting. It can also depend on the years the convicts need to render in prison, as well as the severity of the crime they commit.
Some countries who have strict rules about felon suffrage nowadays are considering laws to enable convicts to have their voting rights back after their sentence. Also, some politicians are forwarding some regulations and rules to ensure that convicts are once again eligible for voting even if they are still serving their sentence. These will not just give some degree of freedom for these poor fellows, but also show that their voice even matter.
Voting is an essential right of every citizen that lives in any particular country. Thus, this enables them to exercise their freedom of electing their preferred person for the said position. Also, this only shows their concern about what is best for the country. The great thing is that especially the majority of the countries worldwide shows that these people’s voices and decisions matter too.
What matters most here is that whether a person is out or behind bars, they too have a pivotal role to perform for the good of the country. Their right to vote can contribute to what is best for the county, both for the economy and the government.