Washington, October 10 : The current economic crisis may stop U.S. citizens from voting, says an expert.
S. David Mitchell, a professor of law at the University of Missouri, said that she had studied the impact of laws related to felon disenfranchisement and the collateral consequences of felony convictions, not only on ex-offenders but their families also.
The researcher also reviewed how disenfranchisement could contribute to the undermining of citizenship as a legal status.
Mitchell recently explored the concept of citizenship, and the detrimental impact on individual and collective or community citizenship when individuals were disenfranchised.
The researcher feels that with the economic crisis, the ranks of the disenfranchised were growing and citizens who never had a brush with the law might soon find themselves without a voice.
Highlighting the fact that one criterion for voter eligibility is a permanent address, the researcher said that with the spate of foreclosures, citizens were finding themselves ineligible and stricken from the voter rolls.
Mitchell said that some simple steps could be taken to ameliorate the situation, but still many citizens previously registered to vote might find themselves at a loss because they lack knowledge about their rights, just like ex-offenders do.
Based on his research, the researcher came to the conclusion that disenfranchisement had a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, and it undermined citizenship and relegated individuals to second-class status.