Recently, I was listening to CNN where they were discussing the states where convicted felons are not allowed to vote and whether that was right.

Is voting a right or a privilege? But there's a third word that used to be applied, though one seldom hears it anymore.

When I was a kid voting wasn't a right or a privilege. It was a duty of every citizen in the democracy to participate in the electoral process.

As to felons. They are in prison to work off their debt to society.

Or not?

When they come out, are they citizens again or are they less than citizens?

Your thoughts?

Tags: citizenship, voting

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Voting is a privilege, but I don't agree with prisoners not being allowed to vote.

If there is the potential for one political party to gain over another by having stricter laws, you add an incentive to a political party outside providing "law and order" to extending or reducing time spent in prison for crimes.

In my ideal political system however all votes are not equal. I would prefer a system in which while casting your vote you have to answer a small list of questions, these questions concern the major economic, scientific and political issues at the time, the questions are purely on awareness (not on how to deal with the problem, that is what the vote is for).

Each vote should then be given a value according to the awareness displayed in the questions answered. Currently democracy is too much a popularity contest.

Sure this system isn't perfect either, but it would be a step closer in my opinion.

You remind me of Robert A Heinlein's suggestion that you have to solve a quadratic equation before being allowed to vote.  And he said, at first, that he'd restrict it to integer roots.  He figured if you have no grasp of math you were ipso facto mentally incompetent and shouldn't be making adult decisions.

It has the advantage of being a test you can objectively grade; I would shudder at the thought of having to demonstrate knowledge of a political issue to someone who might not be able to keep their opinions out of it.  (Would you, for example, reject a global warming denier?  If so, why wouldn't you have rejected someone who believed Wegener before 1950?  The scientific establishment was just as sure the continents did not move back then, as they are sure of climate change today.)  I know many people would reject libertarians and insist that they are doing so on factual grounds, and the reverse is likely true too.

I am not sure I'd go as Heinlein.  But I shudder at the thought that money in the amount of trillions of dollars is ultimately in the charge of a bunch of people (our congress) who would no doubt fail the quadratic test.

Sadly, as I prepair to vote, I run back into the problem of 'hours in the day'. Numerous times I have really needed to research a proposal, but realized that a decision should, ideally, be based upon 'knowledge', not 'suspicion' or 'ignorance'. Getting to the place of understanding seems to be a deeply time-invested dependent problem. With everything else I do, my political  'duty' seems the hardest to fulfill.

About 10 years ago, I downloaded a copy of the USA Patriot Act and had set out to 'read' the thing. About 20 pages into it, I realized that there are references to previous laws and rulings, that I had no knowledge of, and would take days to research. To understand ment, plumbing the rabbit hole! Atleast a few things seemed obvious, which, at the time were disconcerting.

I still try to research before I vote, but fear that I am out of my depth alot of the time..;p(  

No, the questions have to be worded in more a multi choice setting in my opinion, and not ask for opinions but facts. Taking the example of global warming:

What is the scientific consensus of climate scientists about global warming?

a) They all think it is man made

b) 99% think it is man made

c) 50/50

d) None believe it, it's a hoax dreamed up by hippies

e) no one has investigated the scientific consensus

This type of thing, there is only one correct answer.

Another could be "have temperature risen a statistically significant amount in the last 50 years if we take a 10 year moving average?"

Perhaps add a quadratic equation in there just for giggles.

A right, a privilege, and a responsibility.  I've voted in EVERY election since Dwight Eisenhower.  This year, I will vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, because she believes everything I do.

Given the atrocious events of 1945, I suspect that the Japanese people might have a different answer to this question than Americans.  Think about it.

Not sure what you mean. Do you mean that had Japan been a democracy and thus the common people had had the right to vote, their aggression pre- and in WWII might not have happened?

And for that matter what about the atrocious events of 1937-1941?

In a democracy, voting should be a mandate.

Suffrage should be a universal right in all states for all residents of the age of 18 or older and in the case of convicted felons, after having served their mandated sentences they should be permitted to be restored to civil rights and be allowed to vote.   

A review of definitions:

Right 1) n. an entitlement to something, whether to concepts like justice and due process, or to ownership of property or some interest in property, real or personal. These rights include various freedoms, protection against interference with enjoyment of life and property, civil rights enjoyed by citizens such as voting and access to the courts, natural rights accepted by civilized societies, human rights to protect people throughout the world from terror, torture, barbaric practices and deprivation of civil rights and profit from their labor, and such American constitutional guarantees as the right to freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition. 2) adj. just, fair, correct. (See: civil rights, marital rights)


2) PRIVILEGE, rights. This word, taken its active sense, is a particular law, or a particular disposition of the law, which grants certain special prerogatives to some persons, contrary to common right. In its passive sense, it is the same prerogative granted by the same particular law.
     2. Examples of privilege may be found in all systems of law; members of congress and of the several legislatures, during a certain time, parties and witnesses while attending court; and coming to and returning from the same; electors, while going to the election, remaining on the ground, or returning from the same, are all privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony or breach of the peace.
     3. Privileges from arrest for civil cases are either general and absolute, or limited and qualified as to time or place.
     4.-1. In the first class may be mentioned ambassadors, and their servants, when the debt or duty has been contracted by the latter since they entered into the service of such ambassador; insolvent debtors duly discharged under the insolvent laws; in some places, as in Pennsylvania, women for any debt by them contracted; and in general, executors and administrators, when sued in their representative character, though they have been held to bail. 2 Binn. 440.
     5.-2. In the latter class may be placed, 1st. Members of congress this privilege is strictly personal, and is not only his own, or that of his constituent, but also that of the house of which he is a member, which every man is bound to know, and must take notice of. Jeff. Man. Sec. 3; 2 Wils. R. 151; Com. Dig. Parliament, D. 17. The time during which the privilege extends includes all the period of the session of congress, and a reasonable time for going to, and returning from the seat of government. Jeff. Man. Sec. 3; Story, Const. Sec. 856 to 862; 1 Kent, Com. 221; 1 Dall. R. 296. The same privilege is extended to the members of the different state legislatures.
     6.-2d. Electors under the constitution and laws of the United States, or of any state, are protected from arrest for any civil cause, or for any crime except treason, felony, or a breach of the peace, eundo, morando, et redeundo, that is, going to, staying at, or returning from the election.
     7.-3d. Militia men, while engaged in the performance of military duty, under the laws, and eundo, morando et redeundo.
     8.-4th. All persons who, either necessarily or of right are attending any court or forum of justice, whether as judge, juror, party interested or witness, and eundo, morando et redeundo. See 6 Mass. R, 245; 4 Dall. R. 329, 487; 2 John. R. 294; 1 South. R. 366; 11 Mass. R. 11; 3 Cowen, R. 381; 1 Pet. C. C. R. 41.
     9. Ambassadors are wholly exempt from arrest for civil or criminal cases.
     Vide Ambassador. See, generally, Bac. Ab. h.t.; 2 Rolle's Ab. 272; 2 Lilly's Reg. 369; Brownl. 15; 13 Mass. R. 288; 1 Binn. R. 77; 1 H. Bl. 686; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.


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