Factors Affecting Support for Felon Voting Rights: Personal Beliefs, Felon Attributes, and Political Context

41 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2018

See all articles by David C. Wilson

David C. Wilson

University of Delaware - Political Science & International Relations

TaLisa Carter

University of Delaware - Sociology and Criminal Justice

Khalilah L Brown-Dean

Quinnipiac University

Date Written: November 13, 2018

Abstract

In this research, we examine a host of factors, including punitive beliefs, informational cues about felons, and familiarity with state voting laws, to determine what criteria individuals use to decide their position on felon voting rights. Using national survey data, we find that punitive beliefs like social dominance orientation, racial resentment, and conservatism reduce support for felon voting rights. We find more support when people perceive that felons have adequately paid their debt to society by completing their sentences (i.e., not in prison) and given adequate retribution (e.g., serving in the military). Finally, we find that individuals support voting rights for felons more when they believe their state law already allows felons to vote. Together these factors suggest a set of criteria tied to deservingness that explains when and why the public supports rights for felon voting.

Keywords: Felon, Voting Rights, Disenfranchisement, Racial Attitudes

Suggested Citation

Wilson, David C. and Carter, TaLisa and Brown-Dean, Khalilah L, Factors Affecting Support for Felon Voting Rights: Personal Beliefs, Felon Attributes, and Political Context (November 13, 2018). 2019 National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283465 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3283465

David C. Wilson (Contact Author)

University of Delaware - Political Science & International Relations ( email )

United States

TaLisa Carter

University of Delaware - Sociology and Criminal Justice ( email )

325 Smith Hall
Newark, DE 19716
United States

Khalilah L Brown-Dean

Quinnipiac University ( email )

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