Felony Disenfranchisement: Its Origins and Effects On African American Males
Kimberly Michelle Jones
Robert L. Harris Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 2007 J664
viii, 71 leaves; 29 cm.
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the origins and effects of Felon Disenfranchisement laws on African Americans. Felon Disenfranchisement laws are constitutional or statutory restrictions on the right to vote after one has been convicted of a felony. Felon disenfranchisement laws deny the voting rights of felons, ex-felons, parolees and those persons on probation. Felon disenfranchisement is prescribed beyond the sentence imposed by the courts and varies across the country. Currently 13% of the population, over 1.4 million Black men can not vote, with Black men making up 36% of the total disenfranchised population. The early history of felon disenfranchisement laws suggest these laws were a component of white southerners’ attempt to deny African Americans the right to vote; to deny them political participation following the passage of Civil Rights Amendments during Reconstruction. Given the disproportionate impact of felon disenfranchisement laws on African Americans and states’ historic use of this means to disenfranchise and restrict minority participation in political system, race may provide a clue to the origin of felon disenfranchisement laws.