Convicted felons voting and holding office

Debates over the eligibility of convicted felons to vote and the ongoing controversy over the recent conviction of US Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska pushed felons into the election spotlight.

A recent FactCheck.org story noted that convicted felons could serve in the US Senate. In Texas, convicted felons are able to vote after they have served out their full punishment (including parole). However, Texas Election Code (Section 141.001) states that convicted felons are not eligible to run for office unless “pardoned or otherwise released.” (The same code provides that you can not be a candidate for office if you have been found by a court to be “totally mentally incapacitated” or “partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote”)

We didn’t quite get this right in the textbook. On page 175 we note that felons lose their right to vote without noting that they can vote after their punishment has run its course. A big shout out to our new friend and colleague at SFA Marilyn Gruebel for pointing out the error of our ways.

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