Felon Disenfranchisement and Citizenship Rights in the United States

  • Elizabeth Brown


This paper discusses the evolution of felon disenfranchisement in the United States as well as its implications for the nation as a whole. First, the history of felon disenfranchisement in the United States is explored, with a particular focus on the deliberate disenfranchisement of Black Americans. The continued disenfranchisement of felons has the capacity to compromise the ability of marginalized communities to exert political influence, reduce the citizenship rights of current and former felons, and brings into question the United States’ status as a modern liberal democracy. This paper argues that the continued disenfranchisement, particularly of Black Americans, who have been previously convicted of a felony demonstrates the United States’ inability to be classified as a liberal democracy as it removes the fundamental citizenship rights that should be awarded to all citizens of the state.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown is in her final year at the University of Victoria studying political science with a particular focus on ecology and environmental studies. Her research interests include climate and conservation policy, environmental racism, and Indigenous land stewardship, though coursework on American politics has also sparked her interest.