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Re: CHAT: cultural interpretation [was Re: THEORY: language andthe brain]

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Sunday, July 6, 2003, 1:14
On Sat, Jul 05, 2003 at 03:47:29PM -0500, David Barrow wrote:
> > "Felon" is a technical term for someone who has been convicted of > > a crime in a particular category, called a "felony", which is more > > serious than the category of "misdemeanors". People who have ever > > been convicted of a felony in this country lose their right to vote - > > Permanently? > > They don't get it back after they've served their sentence?
It depends on the state and the crime. If you're convicted of a Federal felony, I think you permanently lose the right to vote in Federal elections. But most felonies are defined by the states, and the effect on suffrage is also determined by the state. Four states (Maine, Massachusetts, Utah, and Vermont) actually allow prisoners to vote while still incarcerated; the other 46 do not. Massachusetts will have a referendum on the ballot in November that, if passed, will take away the voting rights of convicted felons. Not clear whether that will be just while serving or also after. At the moment, nine states disenfranchise all former felons for life. It was ten until Delaware changed their law last month; now only certain felonies (specifically murder, rape/sexual assault, and felony bribery) result in permanent disenfranchisement in DE. Another six states impose an additional delay after release before regaining the vote; Delaware is one of these, since under the new law felons can't vote until five years - with no new convictions, of course - after their release. Mark