People who face drug charges in Colorado might believe that if they are convicted they will serve their sentence and that will be the only part of their conviction. However, they might not realize that they might be restricted in their voting rights.
Across the country, people who are convicted of various crimes might find that they are unable to vote in elections. This takes away a fundamental right that many people associate with a democracy. While these laws vary by state, people in some states might find that they are unable to vote while on probation or if they have been a former inmate at all.
If former inmates were allowed to vote in all states, approximately 4.3 million people would gain voting rights that they have lost. A report on the disenfranchisement of people who are convicted of crimes found that the number of people imprisoned quadrupled after increased punishment for drug crimes that was legislated in the 1970s.
Although prison populations decreased in the year 2010, a large number of Americans will be forever barred from voting, unless laws are changed. Despite drug crimes having nothing to do with fraud or any activity that could result in tampered elections, many people continue to experience disenfranchisement.
People often don’t understand that when they are convicted of a crime, they might have consequences that extend far beyond the sentence that they serve. On top of the stigma they might face for a crime, they might also be unable to vote for their representatives in government.
Source: MSNBC, “Presumed guilty: Ex-felons face barriers to voting rights,” Ari Melber, Nov. 4, 2013