Opinion: United States would benefit by extending voting rights to people in prison

As the United States prides itself on being a beacon of democracy, it’s hard to imagine that people are still denied the right to vote. While the fight for voting rights for Black Americans has been ongoing for generations, a different group is often left out of the conversation: people in prison. North Carolina took a huge step forward when it granted people the right to vote as soon as they are released from prison. Still, we can go one step further, which Congressional Democrats are attempting to do with new legislation. Extending voting rights to people who are incarcerated in prisons might be controversial at first, but it’s worth considering the potential benefits of doing so. Let’s start the conversation with why we even take away the right to vote when you’re imprisoned. Other than the argument that we have always done it that way (which is never a good argument), one might say it’s because if you commit a crime, you lose your liberty and place in society, and therefore the rights free people experience. It is essential to recognize that people in prison are still citizens of the United States with certain inalienable rights. The right to vote is a fundamental aspect of citizenship, and denying it undermines the principles of democracy we hold so dear. When we take those rights away, we essentially say they are no longer citizens, and their voices do not matter. And this is simply not true. We must also recognize that people in prison still contribute in meaningful ways to the society we all live in. They manufacture products that feed into a multibillion dollar industry. If you have ever been to an office party, there is a big chance the linen came from Oriental Trading Company and was cleaned […]

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By Donato