Felons Should Not Be Permitted To Vote Until They Have Completed All of Their Sentences | Beaufort County Now | 2-1 Superior Court decision to grant voting rights to felons server probation or parole will likely be appealed

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Dr. Andy Jackson.

    A three-judge panel of the North Carolina Superior Court overturned a 1971 law that restored voting rights to convicted felons after they have completed their sentence, including probation or parole. The 2-1 decision grants voting rights to all felons serving their sentences as long as they are not physically in prison.

    I wrote on this issue as the case started last year:

    Both constitutionally and in practice, North Carolina strikes the right balance on felon voting.

    Through their own actions, felons have demonstrated that they do not respect our laws or the rights of others. While felons on parole are no longer in prison, they are still serving their sentences and rightfully have many of the rights and privileges of citizenship, including voting, taken from them until their sentences are completed. The lawsuit seeking to change these restrictions is baseless.

    That reasoning still stands. People serving probation or parole (also called "post-release supervision") are still institutionalized and have many of their rights and freedoms taken from them, including freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the right to keep and bear arms. Suspending the right to vote until a convicted felon has completed all their sentence and demonstrated that they are ready to retake their part in running our republic is proper.

    Judge John M. Dunlow's dissent notes some of those same reasons (page 67):

    "[F]elons do not enjoy the same measure of constitutional protections . . . as do citizens who have not been convicted of a felony." State v. Grady, 372 N.C. 509, 567, 831 S.E.2d 542, 582 (2019). As a result of their own conduct, felons are subject to these reduced constitutional protections, which "society . . . recognize[s] as legitimate." See id. at 555, 831 S.E.2d at 575. Our courts have recognized that there is a dividing line, for constitutional rights, between those who have "served [their] sentence[s], paid [their] debt[s] to society, and had [their] rights restored," and those who have not. Id. at 534, 831 S.E.2d at 561.

    The ruling did not strike down all felon disenfranchisement, just those serving probation or parole. That is because felon disenfranchisement is both permitted in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and enshrined in Article VI, Section 2 of North Carolina's 1971 Constitution:

    No person adjudged guilty of a felony against this State or the United States, or adjudged guilty of a felony in another state that also would be a felony if it had been committed in this State, shall be permitted to vote unless that person shall be first restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.

    Otherwise, the arguments used in the majority decision could just as easily apply to felons serving their sentences in prison as to felons serving their sentences on probation or parole. That is a bridge too far for even progressive judges... for the moment.

    What will happen next? I expect that the North Carolina Court of Appeals will eventually issue a stay of the Superior Court's ruling until they hear the case. Activist groups will seek to register as many felons as they can until that stay is issued.
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Billionaire Elon Musk unloaded on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in a series of tweets on Tuesday after Warren suggested without evidence that Musk does not pay taxes because of a “rigged tax code.”
Democrat President Joe Biden was mocked over the weekend for bragging about flying 70,000 pounds of baby formula from Europe to the U.S. as his administration has faced criticism for the shortage of baby formula across the country.
The US dollar is losing value as a result of burgeoning Biden-flation. Before we all end up homeless, let's take some time to reflect on some things that are more valuable than the money in your bank account. Maybe you can barter for some of these killer items before it's too late!
San Francisco Democrat Mayor London Breed appears to have reversed course on her support for defunding the police, a far-left movement that is well outside the mainstream, and is now calling those same progressive policies “the bulls*** that has destroyed our city.”
On Tuesday night, Val Applewhite won the Democrat primary for North Carolina’s 19th state Senate District with 56.3% of the vote. Incumbent state Sen. Kirk deViere came in second with 36.8% of the vote.
Now that the body of a man shot in the head has been discovered in the receding waters of drought-ravaged Lake Mead in Nevada, two Mafia experts speculate he could be one of three men connected to the Mafia who mysteriously disappeared.
At a donor event this week, President Biden tried his hand at focus group-tested insults, calling Trump the "Great MAGA King" to mixed reviews.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced intense questions on Tuesday over a variety of issues facing the administration as it battles low approval ratings from the American public.


Now that President Biden has attempted to palliate the American public during the gas price crisis by raiding the critical Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), it has reached the lowest level in 35 years.
Authorities discovered an incapacitated father Thursday night while following up on reports of a possible domestic disturbance.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden downplayed concerns that many Americans have about his vaccine mandates going too far and encroaching on their individual freedoms.
Christian Castelli has won the Republican primary for North Carolina’s 6th U.S. Congressional District with 36% of the vote.
Ted Budd Increases Lead Over Biden/Beasley in Latest Independent Poll
A new report reveals that the Democrat Party’s internal polling shows them getting blown out in November’s congressional elections.
The husband of one of Democrat President Joe Biden’s cabinet secretaries is a top executive in an artificial intelligence company that is backed by China’s communist government.
After the spectacular crash in the cryptocurrency market this week, Matt Damon and his publicists worked overtime to produce a new commercial to apologize for convincing amateurs to invest in cryptocurrency.


Back to Top