Massachusetts Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment, Question 2 (2000)

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Articles of Amendment

The Massachusetts Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment, also known as Question 2, was a legislatively referred proposed constitutional amendment that appeared on the November 7, 2000 Massachusetts ballot, where it was approved.

The proposal sought to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to limit the voting rights of incarcerated felons. Under the amendment, incarcerated felons would be ineligible to vote for Governor's Councillors, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, state attorney general, or United States senator or representative in Congress.

Election results

Question 2 (Incarcerated Felons Voting Amendment)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,648,447 60.30%
No926,73733.90%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Supporters

The initiative was supported by Massachusetts House Minority Leader Francis L. Marini. Marini argued that it it doesn't make sense to deprive prisoners of their liberty and "right to exercise control over their own life" while still allowing them the right to "exercise control over our lives by voting from prison." Marini encouraged voters to approve the initiative and "protect democracy's greatest gift--the right to vote, by reserving it for the law-abiding."

Opponents

The initiative was opposed by the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition. The organization argued that the Massachusetts Constitution clearly provides that prisoners have the right to vote, a right that was intended by the founders of Massachusetts and affirmed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1977. He also stated that no one has alleged that prisoner voting has harmed Massachusetts' democracy or social fabric. He claimed that very few prisoners vote and that there's no evidence that prisoner voting has negatively influenced any election.

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