Factors Affecting Support for Felon Voting Rights: Personal Beliefs, Felon Attributes, and Political Context
41 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 13, 2018
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
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