The "Living Constitution":

Total posts: [99]
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76 Jhimmibhob22nd Jun 2012 09:22:42 AM from Where the tea is sweet, and the cornbread ain't , Relationship Status: My own grandpa
Or convicted felons? (which account for a large chunk of the disenfranchised in many states)
"She was the kind of dame they write similes about." —Pterodactyl Jones
You already have a constitutional amendment for setting the voting age at 18, I don't see any modern reason for affecting that, but you might want to create youth age political participation that isn't quite as strong as a vote.

And yes, the right to vote gives the right to vote to felons as well. Every single person should have the right to vote. If there is a concern over how informed someone is when voting, then improve the "informed voter rate", don't strip the right to vote.
78 RhymeBeat22nd Jun 2012 11:11:02 AM from Eastern Standard , Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
Bird mom
What reason do we have to deny felons voting rights other than our "let's make Prisoners' lives as terrible as possible" mentality. Yes someone who has committed a crime will likely vote for candidates that are light on crime, but there are plenty of non-criminals that vote the same way.
I think a suspension on voting rights for X time could be implemented, but I wouldn't strip it completely.
Now using Trivialis handle.
80 AceofSpades22nd Jun 2012 11:21:32 AM , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
Apparently it varies from state to state whether or not the felon gets back their right to vote when they're released. Still, felons tend to be among the demographic that doesn't vote at all anyway, due to various other factors. Just re-enfranchising them wouldn't effect much without massive efforts to get the youth and poorer people to vote. (Which there are already efforts to do, but it's a choice between paying your bills for a day or taking time off to work right now.)
Three-Puppet Saluter
Felons would also tend to vote for corrupt politicians. Just sayin'.
Hail Martin Septim!
That seems like a dubious claim. Felons are likely to vote for left-wing parties is all.

Any tool to rip the right of citizenship/representation from a person is going to be heavily abused. All the convicted felon voter lists are predominately filled with minority groups and creates a vicious cycle in which government services fail to assist those groups allowing a higher crime rate to fester in their neighbourhoods further disenfranchising them. It is in fact a total waste of time/resources for politicians to then help these neighbourhoods when he could just strip them of their rights instead and rely on the votes from richer nicer neighbourhoods.

edited 22nd Jun '12 7:16:03 PM by breadloaf

Flying Dutchman
That doesn't really make sense. Most felons, if they have a job at all (which, granted, is unlikely) would be taxpayers that don't have any real positive gain to have from getting a corrupt politician in office.

Crime bosses and their cronies might want such a thing, perhaps, but most felons have nothing to gain because most felons aren't part of organized crime.
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

84 RhymeBeat22nd Jun 2012 07:27:49 PM from Eastern Standard , Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
Bird mom
Yeah, just because a person is "evil" doesn't mean they want to vote for corrupt politicians. That's just Stupid Evil.
85 AceofSpades22nd Jun 2012 08:42:03 PM , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
Everyone votes for corrupt politicians, if we're going to base this on the idea that politicians do backroom deals and tend to hide such things, Doma. Suffice to say, that people in general don't go around voting for people they actively know or think to be corrupt, and to disregard a part of the population like that only speaks to your ignorance.

If a felon thinks voting for a particular politician will help them out in the long run, that makes them no different from the rich white guy voting for the politician they think will help them out in the long run. That's a large part of why people will vote; they think a particular representative is going to be helpful to them and their area.
86 Lawyerdude22nd Jun 2012 10:56:29 PM from my secret moon base
A fundamental flaw of elective representation is that many people believe that all politicians are corrupt except for the ones that they voted for.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
87 Morven23rd Jun 2012 02:58:56 AM from Seattle, WA, USA
Given that the US imprisons more people than pretty much any country worldwide by % of the population, that's going to get to be a fairly hefty proportion of the population denied the vote, which doesn't sit well with me.
A brighter future for a darker age.
Just to note about the above point:

US jails at a rate of 700 per 100 000 people, not quite enough to be double the next person on the list; Russia.

That's not considering that for some people, they permanently lose the right to vote after conviction. So you have at least 0.7% of the population cut from voting instantly, and of the "of-age" population, it's probably more than 0.7%.

edited 23rd Jun '12 8:58:51 AM by breadloaf

89 Morven23rd Jun 2012 09:19:03 AM from Seattle, WA, USA
It's estimated that one in eight black males are prohibited from voting due to a felony conviction. You can't argue that isn't having an effect on things.
A brighter future for a darker age.
@Doma: Um, No. Most felons arent completely evil people who have some innate knowledge of which politician secretly works for bribes. Theyre generally people who live in such desperate poverty (and being felons doesnt help their chances of getting out of poverty at ALL) so they tend to go back to crime because they dont see any oter viable way to live.

edited 23rd Jun '12 9:40:23 AM by Midgetsnowman

91 TropeDad23rd Jun 2012 03:50:27 PM from Pittsburgh , Relationship Status: In denial
Lost and Spaced
As far as I'm concerned, the Constitution (and thereby the interpretation thereof) is so outdated and out of touch with where our society is now that it's practically become something akin to religious scholars, priests and mystics poring over a sacred document, trying to deduce the true interpretation of the document.

All this uncertainty in the wording and interpretations, re-interpretations and re-interpretations just proves that this document is vague and just used as a justification for bad behavior and bad legislation the same way that, say, the Bible does for those who choose to use it as justification for all sorts of evils.

I'm in favor of the document seeing a revamp.

Granted, it has plenty of good ideas in it, for sure. Freedom to speech, assembly, all that good stuff... but there are plenty of issues that need to be nailed down.

Alternatively, all this constant re-interpretations of the document makes a good argument for making state's laws more authoritative.
Just a dad into tropes.
Not the father of tropes.
92 AceofSpades23rd Jun 2012 04:30:41 PM , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
It was intentionally left vague in some parts because they were starting a new country and wanted the people in charge after they died to be able to figure things out without being constricted by too much tradition. Or something. The point is is that a lot of the vagueness was deliberate on the part of the Founders. So that we could adapt. The problem isn't the vagueness, is the way it's currently being interpreted.
93 TropeDad23rd Jun 2012 04:39:29 PM from Pittsburgh , Relationship Status: In denial
Lost and Spaced

It's the interpretative part of it that bothers me. I mean, I believe that our legislators will only seek to interpret it in ways that benefit them or their agendas, rather than upholding actual national virtue and justice.
Just a dad into tropes.
Not the father of tropes.
94 AceofSpades23rd Jun 2012 06:12:22 PM , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
That's an obvious danger, but see, even a more authoritative document can be interpreted in a bad way. As well as being badly written from the start. Hell, that's a danger with any constitution that's ever been written! Or any official government document.

Doesn't mean the thing is worthless. And, as I have stated before, the US is stable enough that writing a whole new constitution is unlikely any time in the near future. Such things only tend to happen when a country keeps having to start over with things.
95 Morven23rd Jun 2012 10:38:47 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
It's worth mentioning that the original drafters of the Constitution expected that it would be changed and altered a lot more than it actually turned out to be.
A brighter future for a darker age.
96 TropeDad24th Jun 2012 06:54:29 AM from Pittsburgh , Relationship Status: In denial
Lost and Spaced
[up] I had thought I heard that in a lecture somewhere, but I didn't want to speak up and be wrong about that.
Just a dad into tropes.
Not the father of tropes.
Well, to be honest, the more modern constitutions are even MORE vague, so I don't think vagueness is an issue.

It's about the core principles of the constitution and having a justice system brave enough to uphold them. Like I said above something as simple as the constitutional right to vote, where is it? Constitutional right against discrimination (because as it stands, I think and correct me if I'm wrong, you have to actually list out the kinds of discrimination?). Protecting free speech, expression, mobility and so on.

It's more of a matter of, today we have more core principles to defend and the US constitution is as messy as one would expect after 200 years.

I don't think anything drastic needs to be done. If we're going the amendment route then I would suggest that the US forms a congressional committee (because you guys love those things) to study the Canadian and European Union constitution, pick out the new core principles and then ask the American public do you want to protect these rights?
98 Lawyerdude24th Jun 2012 04:25:27 PM from my secret moon base
One of the strengths of the US Constitution, as I see it, is its brevity and clarity. All it really does is set up a broad framework and allows the people to fill in the details for themselves later on. It hasn't needed to be amended very much largely because it didn't need it. Contrast that with the Constitution of the EU, which I've heard is a massive, tangled, nearly incomprehensible mess to anybody but dedicated scholars.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
That's not true, the EU constitution is fairly simple and clear. EU law is a different story.

The Canadian constitution, from which the EU one is partially based off of, is like a few pages of point form notes about your rights. The lengthy bits are specifically Canadian, thus don't really need to concern anything here about the US constitution.

edited 24th Jun '12 6:07:43 PM by breadloaf

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