University of Memphis Law Review
In its broadest forms, felon disenfranchisement excludes even individuals who have long been rehabilitated. Yet they are still treated only as partial citizens. Automatic, long-term restrictions on the franchise are unnecessarily exclusionary. More importantly, they hinder reentry and rehabilitation. Citizens returning from imprisonment, who can vote, have lower rates of recidivism than those who are barred from voting. Re-enfranchisement signals a return to citizenship. It advances and confirms a returning citizen’s full participatory rights. Ultimately, that means we recognize these individuals as having lived up to the expectation of rehabilitation rather than leaving them feeling defeated.
Nora Demleitner, Felon Disenfranchisement, 49 U. Mem. L. Rev. 1275 (2019).