Lott and James Glassman have a piece in the New York Post arguing that felons should not be allowed to vote. Well, I can’t claim to know anything about the issue (for that, see Kevin Drum and Julie Saltman), but this is John “98%” Lott and James “36,000″ Glassman, so you just know their numbers are going to be dodgy. And sure enough, in the first paragraph we find:
A bill to guarantee that millions of convicted murderers, rapists and armed robbers can vote.
That sounded like a lot to me, so I thought I’d check. I found a table giving a breakdown of felony convictions by crime type and it seems that 1% are for murder, 1% are for rape, and 2% are for armed robbery. These sorts of felons are not typical (drug offenses are the most common category), and certainly there are not millions (or even hundreds of thousands) of them.
I was also impressed by the entirely circular argument they offered for not allowing felons to vote:
Why shouldn’t felons be able to vote if they have paid their debt to society? Simply because society believes that the debt includes a prohibition on voting.
And how we know that society believes they shouldn’t vote? Why obviously because society has laws against them voting. In other words, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they aren’t allowed to vote.