Disenfranchisement: Voting Is A Privelege That We Must Not Take For Granted

5486 words - 22 pages

Since the establishment of our great country, Americans utilized the ballot box as a freedom of expression. Voting is a basic right that many of us take for granted, some even viewing it as a “God given right.” As citizens, we expect the right to vote. Many oblivious to the fact that voting is a privilege that can be revoked. The process, commonly referred to as disenfranchisement, is the principle reason for my summary. Today more than ever, one of America's post-election concerns is voter turnout. Usually, the numbers are bleak, especially during local elections. As a society, we cannot afford to turn our back on one of the pillars of a democracy. If elected officials are to represent segments of voters, then people from all lifestyles need to be able to participate in the process. As a Republic, our elected officials carry the message of their constituents, uniting many voices into one. This is not the case for some segments of society. Major findings show that over an estimated 5.2 million Americans have lost the right to vote. (Lance 2008) Many of these Americans are members of minority groups. The process that makes disenfranchisement possible has been in practice for centuries. The law states that once you have become a felon you lose your right to vote. This applies even after their release into society. Further aggravating the issue is society’s current tough stance on lawbreakers, which has converted what were once misdemeanors into felonies. The result has been record amounts of prison inmates across the United States, resulting in millions of Americans who hold no voice in their future. The argument made is that these men and women have been reduced to living in the shadows of society. On the other side of the issue, one would argue that we should not extend the privilege of voting to someone who has exhibited horrendous judgment. Why allow the offender the ability to retain their freedom of expression when they might have permanently silenced an innocence’s voice in the conduct of their crime. However, alienating a huge segment of society is a potential pressure cooker. That may manifest itself in the form of explosive large-scale riots. While this is an extreme example, it occurred as recent as 1992 in Los Angeles. The impact disenfranchisement has on society has a larger reach when you factor in family members. In some cases, the youngest are the most susceptible. They are the ones who bare the consequence of the future through the conditioning in their current environment which lends itself to mistrust a system that has robbed their loved ones of their voice in society. Voting is a privilege that many citizens of the world are not fortunate enough to enjoy, one that empowers the masses against the rule of the elite. Our ability to vote has been protected with the blood of our ancestors, and if taken lightly can easily disappear.

(2009). Felon Voting. Retrieved July...

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