I had a brief back and forth last night with a fellow in comments to a Sacramento Bee article on a prison related issue. It started out with him writing that we allow felons to vote. I replied that it was my understanding felons aren't allowed to vote. He countered that he works in a California prison and had been tasked with providing some inmates absentee ballots.
That motivated me to do a quick internet search where I found this table of felon voting restrictions, or lack thereof. I was surprised at what I saw. I'll admit to having not given the issue a lot of thought before, but certainly thought that was one of the aspects of punishment for felonies: You can't vote. In fact, every now and then I've read of some movement to restore voting rights for felons.
It doesn't seem to be that bad. California, for instance, allows a felon's voting rights restored after he's served his sentence and isn't on parole anymore.
Other states have various restrictions with a number having the possibility of permanent revocation of voting rights and a couple, Maine and Vermont, with none and even allowing voting in prison. That would suggest what the fellow told me in the SacBee forums isn't correct. I'm not saying he's lying. I'm just saying, according to the table, California doesn't allow felons to vote in prison. Maybe the table is wrong?
The guy said he'd ask about it at work today. Hopefully, he'll get back and clarify.
At any rate, it looks like what I'd been thinking and hearing about all felons not being able to vote wasn't quite right. If it's true that California doesn't allow voting by felons until they're removed from parole status, I'd say California has it right and that's the way it should be.