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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantWhy Shouldn’t Prisoners be Voters?

Why Shouldn’t Prisoners be Voters?

Authors: Daniel A. Gross

Affiliation: Freelancer

Organization/Publisher: The New Yorker

Date/Place: February 27, 2020, U.S.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 3693


Keywords:  Foster Bates, Prisoners, Voting rights, Republicans, Democrats, Foster Bates


The article is the mixture of Foster Bates’ story and the reactions of political officials to the issue of whether prisoners should be allowed to vote. Foster Bates is a prisoner in G-Pod, a medium security unit of Maine State prison, in a town called Warren. Bates happens to be one of among a million and a half prisoners, of which few are allowed to vote, including Bates. According to Bates, voting is a sacred bond that he shares with the society that sent him away, and when a person is incarcerated the only thing that remains is the citizenship of a person. When Senator Bernie Sanders was asked in Iowa (in April 2018) whether prisoners should be allowed to vote, he said yes, to which Republican Senator Lindsey Graham criticized him by calling it a political opportunity. Graham said “Let’s vote for Bernie Sanders idea to allow rapists, murderers, and terrorists to vote from prison.” David Feldman, a law professor at Cambridge (UK), is of the opinion that in US. people are often disenfranchised according to the sentences they receive, rather than the crimes they commit. The author recommends that the alternative to an imperfect system of voting-rights restoration is a universal system of voting rights preservation. 

By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant



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