Peter Sperry

Well, if we follow election law, voting is a right of citizenship based on residence in a jurisdiction which can be revoked, suspended or extended based on clear criteria established by the constitution or legislature governing the jurisdiction. Jurisdictions within the United States generally extend voting rights to all adult citizens of the United States who are resident within thier jurisdiction by physical presence as well as to members of the military and U.S. citizens living abroad who claim primary residence in the jurisdiction and have indicated a clear intent to return to the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions within the U.S. extend voting rights to individuals who are not citizens. It is a violation of federal law for noncitizens to vote in federal elections and they are subject to fine, imprisonment and deportation if caught. Neverthless, some jurisdictions ignore federal law and encourage voting by noncitizens. Most, but not all, jurisdictions revoke the voting rights of individuals incarcerated for felony convictions. Some, but not all, restore those rights when the individual is released from prison.

More generally, voting has aspects of both a right and a privilage. Individuals who have not discraced their citizenship by committing serious crimes against the community or swearing an oath of aliegence to a foriegn nation have the right to excercise control over the decisions governing their local, state and federal government. They excercise that right through voting. However, voting is also a privilage which is not, and should not, be extended to individuals who have not embraced the community by becoming legal citizens of the nation and it is appropriate to withdraw the privilage from individuals, regardless of citizenship, who have committed such serious crimes agaisnt the community as to require long term incarceration.