Should Felons be Allowed to Run for Office Right Out of Prison?
The November 6th ballot includes an amendment that allows voters to decide whether or not convicted felons should be allowed to run for office right out of prison. The number one amendment option would bar felons from elected or appointed office for five years after their sentence. Public Affairs Research Council Louisiana President Robert Scott says we’ve had that law in the past, but…
“The Supreme Court in Louisiana overturned that in 2016 because the legislature had a faulty version of it that they presented.”
The law was overturned after a challenge by former state legislator Derrick Shepard, who had served two years in prison on corruption charges, and was seeking office after getting out.
Scott says unlike other amendments on the ballot, this one certainly has some public opposition from groups who believe that once you serve your time, you shouldn’t be punished further.
“People have completed their sentence, they’ve paid their debt to society, and they should be allowed to seek office. So, you’ve really got people on both sides of this.”
But the Legislature disagrees, and initially pushed for a longer period barring felons from office, but settled for the five year limit. Scott says the amendment just barely cleared the vote threshold during the regular session to be considered on the ballot.
“Two thirds of the legislature agreed to this, and put it out for the voters to decide. So, I would say in the legislature there was pretty strong support.”
Early voting for the November election ends tomorrow.
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