Redemption and Voting

Conversation Guide

In the United States, the concept of redemption, as it applies to voting rights, can be a distant dream for those who have been incarcerated for offenses small or large. One punishment we have enforced is the revocation of voting rights, which often may be restored only by a lengthy and costly legal process. For example, in Florida 1.6 million former felons are permanently disenfranchised. In this guide, we’ll explore our beliefs about redemption and who should or should not have the right to vote.

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. Our partner Campus Election Engagement Project has prepared the following material if you’d like to read more: Should Florida Restore Felon Voting Rights?

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

Redemption and Voting

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
  • Have you or someone you know had your voting rights revoked? What happened?
  • Should people who have “served their time” have their voting rights restored?
  • What, if any,  are the risks of having felons vote?
  • Does the nature of the felony matter? [Felons in Florida (mentioned in the intro) include people that have driven with a suspended license as well as people that have committed murder].
  • What redemption, specifically related to voting rights, should we, as a society, allow for people who have been incarcerated and completed their sentence?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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