Why Shouldn’t Virginia’s Felons Have To Ask Their Voting Rights Restored?

Source: Bacon’s Rebellion.

Should convicted felons automatically get their voting rights back when they complete their sentences?

I don’t think so. I’m all for giving felons second chances, but the restoration of voting rights isn’t one of them.

To my mind a felony is a special type of crime. On a scale of moral actions, a felony is very close to evil. It is therefore deserving of the penultimate sanction, something the Romans called civil death. The only worse penalty was banishment; expulsion from the society wherein the crime was committed.

I think, too, that the lifetime consequence of losing one’s right to vote has a powerful deterrent effect. It was certainly something I thought about as a young man as I learned to make life-altering decisions of various kinds.

I would make the loss of voting rights permanent upon conviction for a felony. I believe that men and women can redeem themselves from evil acts, but the right to vote must never be conditional. It is not a prize to be given for good behavior.

The right to vote is given freely to every citizen. It should be lost just as freely in the commission of a felony.

57 thoughts on “Why Shouldn’t Virginia’s Felons Have To Ask Their Voting Rights Restored?

  1. “I don’t think so. I’m all for giving felons second chances, but the restoration of voting rights isn’t one of them.”

    And why not? The aim of the penal system is the rehabilitation of the offender. It is difficult enough to come out of prison without being treated by a pariah by the state. The punishment for a felony is the time in prison. There is no good reason for this extra slap in the face.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “The aim of the penal system is the rehabilitation of the offender.”

      Who says? I certainly don’t. I think the aim of the penal system is to administer just punishment to criminals.


      1. “Who says?”

        The criminal justice system says that rehabilitation is absolutely part of the process.

        Restoration of CIVIL rights allows a rehabilitated individual to be a functioning member of society.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It was better the way it used to be.

      Felons could petition to get their voting rights and gun ownership rights restored AFTER victims had been made whole where that is possible and good character had been demonstrated.

      Automatic is too easy, there should at least be an application process after restitution had been accomplished.


      1. “Automatic is too easy . . .”

        Again, why?

        After serving a prison sentence a felon has paid his debt to society.

        But do not bother to answer, we know why. Even after the people of Florida changed their Constitution to restore voting rights after serving a sentence, the GOP made it virtually inoperative with the kind of hurdles that you would impose. It is all part of the effort to suppress the non-white vote because non-white felons are far more like to be convicted and sentenced than white felons.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If someone is sincerely rehabilitated, restitution, to the extent possible, should be part of the process. Until then, their debt has not been paid.

          “because non-white felons are far more like to be convicted and sentenced than white felons.”

          Because you say so?


          1. “Because you say so?”

            I am not going to play your stupid game. The facts of how our justice systems works to the detriment of non-white people have been documented beyond any doubt. Look it up.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Baloney

            Just look at the clearance rate on murders in any big city, or more locally, Norfolk and Portsmouth.

            It’s less than 50% in both. Gang culture brings with it witness intimidation.

            So, if you have something to back up your claims that Blacks who commit felonies are more likely to be convicted, show it.


          3. “Just admit you made a preposterous claim with no basis in fact because it fit your obsession with race.”

            Uh, you just admit you are full of shit.

            The whole BLM movement which mobilized tens of millions of supporters was the result of systemic racism in our justice system. Racists can deny the proven facts all they want. Their denial does not make the truth into something else.




            I could do this all day.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. And Hispanic. MS-13 comes to mind.

            But I said gang related because witness intimidation seems to be a big part of the problem, and gangs allow intimidation even though the suspect is incarcerated.


          5. Plenty of White gangs.

            Mafia, Irish mobsters, Russian Mafia, Mexican Mafia, Motorcycle gangs, Proud boys, Oathkeepers, Atomwaffen, Aryan Brotherhood.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. “contention of a higher rate of felony conviction.”

            That is not my contention. Though that is true as well. I have cited the fact that black people are far more likely to end up in jail than white people. Out of all proportion to their numbers and their crimes. And that is because we have systemic racism permeating the justice system. At each stage of the process from arresting, to charging, to arraigning, to pleaing and to trial non-whites are receive harsher treatment. There is nothing preposterous about what I said. It is the documented fact.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. “Then document it.”
            We have gone full circle. I should have ignored your bullshit the first time. The systemic racism that pollutes the justice system has been documented, proven, studied and confirmed countless times. If you have any evidence besides what you pull out of your ass to the contrary then share it.

            In conclusion, I will re-state the original, opinion I expressed. “Conservatives” oppose restoring the franchise because they oppose non-white people voting. Period. Because, in my oppinion, MAGA-Republicans have become a party of deplorables.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. That was not your original position. You said that Blacks were more likely than Whites to be CONVICTED.

            You have produced no support for that contention.

            You need only watch the local news to see why that is wrong. Witnesses do not show up, and often flee the area. Norfolk’s clearance rate on murders is only 43%.


          9. “You said that Blacks were more likely than Whites to be CONVICTED.”

            Well, if they end up in jail they were convicted. THAT was my point. My wording may have been slightly ambiguous but the point was clear in context. People coming out of prison are disproportionately black at least in good part because of systemic racism in the justice system. And that is why “conservatives” oppose restoring the franchise. IMHO.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. The ACLU is late to the party.


            I have no desire to use marijuana, but there is no good reason that my bourbon on the shelf next to me should be legal but marijuana not.

            But that’s what comes of letting government decide what is good for us.


      2. Currently, In Virginia, there is an application process. It includes proof that restitution, if required has been made.

        An amendment allowing for automatic restoration could (and probably SHOULD) include that provision.


    3. RE: “Automatic is too easy…”

      That’s reasonable, but I think there is a principle of law at stake here.

      Ultimately, there is no requirement under God or Nature that any form of legal or justice system should exist at all. We create them because we want them.

      Further, it is to our advantage, or in our self-interest, to design our legal and justice systems according to standards that we can agree upon and which in practice work well for their intended purposes.

      We agree, for example, that crimes are of greater and lesser degrees, to which defined punishments should correspond. But underlying this arrangement is the idea that crimes are committed in a sense against the governance of society itself. This is the justification for punishments that abolish the civil rights of the criminal.

      I would argue that the loss of the civil right to vote is not unduly harsh. As a punishment for a crime against governance it is neither cruel nor unusual. It is therefore reasonable and appropriate to cancel the right to vote in consequence of a serious crime against the governance of society (because we choose for society to be governed).

      Loss of the civil right of gun ownership is a different matter, since the right of self protection is a natural right, meaning it is not one that government can give or recind.


      1. Wow! You heard it here first.

        Taking away the franchise from a felon is “reasonable and appropriate” but taking away a felon’s right to arm himself with guns would not be. Yeah, those votes are so much more threatening than guns!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you not recognize the distinction between civil and natural rights? I think the difference needs to be addressed under any viable rule of law.

          In this case, it would be unreasonable to prevent a felon from requesting restoration of his civil right of gun ownership.


          1. So, in you mind, the felon who – for example – crippled the Amazon driver for life by shooting him in the back should be permitted to carry a gun again after he has served his sentence? It would “unreasonable” to do otherwise?

            What about the “natural right” of everyone else to Life?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. You are imagining things. I said a felon should not be prevented from requesting restoration of his civil right of gun ownership. I have no problem with preventing a felon from requesting restoration of his civil right to vote.


          3. “I said a felon should not be prevented from requesting restoration of his civil right of gun ownership. ”

            That process is already part of the system. However, it is more likely to have gun ownership rights restored of the other civil rights have also been restored. They are not restored at the same time or by the same entity. Civil rights (voting, jury duty, etc.) can be restored by the governor. A convicted felon has to go through the court that found him/her guilty of the crome.


  2. Trump is facing felony charges in NY, GA, DC, and rape charges.
    His company has been convicted of tax and financial fraud.

    Glad you say he can’t vote if convicted.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He is facing felony charges. If convicted, he will be just another felon. We are talking about all felons, no? Or just “certain” ones?

        If some young kid commits a felony and some say he should be banned for life, does this apply to the rich and powerful? White collar crimes? Tax evasion?

        Just asking, and I used the most well known alleged felon we have as an example.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. RE: “Just asking, and I used the most well known alleged felon we have as an example.”

          Your questions were already answered. Trump is relevant in this connection only to you.


          1. You called for permanent voting baby s for felons, just checking if meant all felons.

            Answer the question or not, that was my point.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. No you did not.

            Len asked specifically about Trump because he is a high profile individual facing indictments for felony offenses in Georgia and DC (Federal) for actions related to Jan 6th. If he is found guilty, and his punishment is 5 years of probation, should his voting rights be restored upon completion of his probation. It is really a simple question that you refuse to answer because if you hold to EVERYTHING you have already stated on the matter, the answer would be NO, and you would have to admit that maybe, just maybe your opinion need change.


          1. The question Len asked was IF Trump were convicted, should he have his voting rights restored after serving his punishment(s). It is relevant because it is just using a high profile, white, white collar criminal as an example.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. So fraudulent bookkeeping and probable use of campaign funds for buying silence is ok if you were running for office. Lots of people and companies have been prosecuted successfully for accounting fraud. Why should Trump who committed these crimes before he was elected and now facing a trial after he was president escape justice?

            Could you?

            Recall that his companies were recently convicted at trial for tax and bank fraud.

            Who do you think he is?

            Admittedly, stronger cases are in GA, 1/6 and the Mar a Lago files. Rule of Law doesn’t apply here?

            Liked by 2 people

          3. You are using the MYTH of political weaponization of the criminal justice system. If Biden were being indicted by a Republican AG, you would be dancing on Ballihack Rd in the rain about it.


  3. A friend of mine was convicted of a minor felony related to mortgages and served 5 years in federal prison. He is not a bad guy; he made a bad choice during a tough time in his life. As part of his release, he spent a few months at a local halfway house. I went to visit him as a sign of support because he lost a lot of friends and standing because they painted him with the same broad brush felons are painted with.

    During the visit, I noticed several signs and posters around the facility that said “Welcome back, CITIZEN.” Part of the rehab process is to be able to become part of civil society again. Part of being in civil society again is to have the civil rights of a citizen. Including the right to vote. (There are some state that allow felons to vote WHILE INCARCERATED.)

    I do not see any reason why someone who has served his/her time, paid restitution to victims (if required), and fulfilled ALL court requirements can’t have rights automatically restored.

    Liked by 1 person

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