Date of Presentation


Name of Conference

Southern Political Science Association

Date of Conference


Location of Conference

New Orleans, louisiana

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Political Science and Public Administration


This paper examines and critiques legal arguments supporting and opposing felon disenfranchisement laws. It reexamines Richardson v Ramerez, the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of state laws that deny voting rights to voting aged cities with felony convictions. It summarizes the literature on case law, legal theory, democratic theory and comparative governments related to voting rights and felon disenfranchisement. It presents a typology of different levels of felon disenfranchisement practice. It concludes that the arguments supporting the more severe practices of felon disenfranchisement tend to focus on the 14th amendment while ignoring the 15th amendment; tend to trivialize the substantial racially disparate impacts; tend to disregard the fact that most democratic countries eschew this practice; and tend to deny voting as a fundamental right.