Individuals convicted of a felony lose the right to vote at least temporarily in most states, and ex-felons are disenfranchised for life in seventeen states. There are often procedures by which ex-felons may regain the right to vote in the lifetime disenfranchisement states, but the procedures vary widely and are often unclear and unrealistic. The right to vote is fundamental once provided by a state, and wealth discrimination coupled with a fundamental right merits strict scrutiny. While ex-felon disenfranchisement may be constitutional, once a state provides a procedure by which ex-felons may regain the right to vote, that procedure must not restrict access to the fundamental right to vote on the basis of wealth. This Note explores the background of felon voting laws, analogous challenges to poll taxes and literacy tests, and wealth discrimination jurisprudence. After an analysis of past and current challenges to ex-felon re-enfranchisement laws, this Note examines current re-enfranchisement laws and finds them unconstitutional.
Cherish M. Keller,
Re-Enfranchisement Laws Provide Unequal Treatment: Ex-Felon Re-Enfranchisement and the Fourteenth Amendment,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol81/iss1/10