We must return the right to vote to all felons, immediately. Democracy is strengthened by participation. Voting is not just for making decisions. It makes people feel included and valued. It’s the most basic and most important form of validation to any citizen, and it should not be taken away, for any reason, ever.
Voting is nothing more than an ancient and traditional form of opinion poll. Back before pollsters could call you on the phone sixty times in a day, the only way to find out what people thought was to have them all go to a central location and tell somebody. This system works well, which is why we still do it, but voting is only a way to measure opinions. A vote is a traditional opinion poll about what should be done and who should do it.
Everybody has an inalienable right to an opinion. Everybody, no matter who, has the right to have an opinion about what’s going on. It costs nothing, it hurts no one, it cannot be taken away, and it must be recognized. The opinion is the fundamental human spark. It should be respected in all of us.
Even the least of us has an opinion. They have a perspective, and they have something to say. There’s no harm in asking them. This is true as a principle in even the most extreme cases, but in reality, the situation is grave. Poverty, institutionalization, and the farcical War on Drugs have stolen the voting power of entire neighborhoods. It is especially important to return their right to vote to them, and now.