Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights and Social Advocacy

Description of the Issue

Social workers and human services professionals should use their abilities to address various issues affecting the wider society. Social problems make it impossible for many people to achieve their goals. Such professionals are equipped with the best competencies to deal with different social problems. The idea of “taking away a felon’s right to vote is a social issue that has affected many people over the past centuries” (Meredith & Morse, 2014, p. 2). The Sentencing Project indicated that “over 5 million American citizens could not vote due to various felony victims” (Rogers, 2014, p. 4). Some states do not allow ex-offenders to engage in various political activities. Studies also indicate that many states allow ex-convicts to gain their voting rights after completing their sentences. Some of the states also require such ex-felons to wait for several months before being able to vote. Some states require every ex-felon to apply in order to have his or her voting rights reinstated (Meredith & Morse, 2014). This discussion, therefore, examines the best approaches towards restoring ex-felons’ voting rights.

Three Actions to Address the Issue

Several actions can be undertaken in order to restore the voting rights of many ex-felons and criminals. Human services professionals should be aware of the facts surrounding the issue. This knowledge will make it possible for them to present powerful action plans. The first action is advocacy (McMiller, 2008). This form of advocacy will encourage more social workers and politicians to reexamine the issue. New laws and regulations will be enacted thus restoring the voting rights of many ex-convicts.

The second act focuses on the concept of empowerment. Many individuals are unable to vote due to the existing bureaucracies and the ineffectiveness of different parole boards (Rogers, 2014). The targeted members of the community should, therefore, be equipped with the best legal ideas in order to understand their rights (Archer & Williams, 2013). They will also be informed about the best practices towards having their rights restored. Some ex-offenders are unaware of the processes needed before their voting rights are restored.

The third approach will focus on the use of effective preventative measures. This strategy will ensure more people in society are discouraged from engaging in various criminal activities. This approach will reduce the rate of crime in the targeted community (McMiller, 2008). More ex-felons will therefore not lose their rights to vote.

Impact of Each Action

These three actions will present different impacts. To begin with, the first action will present new laws thus allowing more ex-convicts to vote. The move will restore the voting rights of many criminals, prisoners, and ex-convicts (Archer & Williams, 2013). The second action will also produce positive outcomes. The affected ex-felons will be informed about the existing legal requirements. They will also be empowered in order to achieve their goals. This action plan will support the needs of many ex-felons who are eligible to vote (McMiller, 2008). The third action plan will have numerous benefits. For instance, the level of crime will reduce in society. More citizens will engage in positive economic activities. The practice will ensure such individuals do not lose their voting rights.

Possible Challenges and Solutions

Several challenges are expected to affect the success of these three actions. The first challenge arises from the lack of enough financial resources. The three strategies require enough resources in order to empower more citizens in the targeted community. The campaigns should be supported by social workers in order to produce the best outcomes (Archer & Williams, 2013). This challenge will, therefore, make it impossible for these action plans to succeed. However, several agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and well-wishers will be encouraged to support these actions (Gibson, 2015). This strategy will make it easier for more ex-felons to have their rights restored. The strategy will discourage more citizens from engaging in criminal activities.

Many states have complex re-registering processes for ex-felons. This is the case because the laws surrounding the issue of disenfranchisement are complex and rigid. For instance, some “laws do not explain clearly how voting rights should be restored” (Ghaelian, 2012, p. 7). The “date of conviction, nature of the crime, and day of release will determine the process of registration” (Ghaelian, 2012, p. 5). Many individuals also lack adequate information regarding their voting rights (Archer & Williams, 2013). The nature of communication between different agencies and ex-felons has always been complicated. This situation makes it impossible for many citizens to have their voting rights restored.

That being the case, powerful strategies will be used to inform more communities about their voting rights. New campaigns will also be used to inform the targeted individuals about the laws surrounding the issue. More educators will also be encouraged to guide and inform the targeted ex-convicts about their rights to vote. The financial support obtained from different supporters will be used to empower more citizens (Gibson, 2015). They will become aware of their rights and eventually realize their potentials. Such measures will address this societal issue in a professional manner.

Reference List

Archer, D., & Williams, K. (2013). Making America “The Land of Second Chances”: Restoring Economic Rights for Ex-Offenders. NYU Review of Law and Social Change, 1(1), 1-54.

Ghaelian, J. (2012). Restoring the Vote: Former Felons, International Law, and the Eighth Amendment. SSRN, 1(1), 1-16.

Gibson, H. (2015). Felons and the Right to Vote in Virginia: A Historical Overview. The Virginia News Letter, 91(1), 1-9.

McMiller, D. (2008). The Campaign to Restore the Voting Rights of People Convicted of a Felony and Sentenced to Probation in Connecticut. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(5), 645-658.

Meredith, M., & Morse, M. (2014). The Politics of the Restoration of Ex-Felon Voting Rights: The Case of Iowa. Web.

Rogers, E. (2014). Restoring Voting Rights to Former Felons. Issues in Election Administration, 1(1), 1-12.

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