State felony disenfranchisement laws that date back to Reconstruction fracture the American electorate into those who are citizens in the fullest sense of the term, in Aristotles words, and those who, deprived of political voice, still have the status of slaves. The existence of this invisible constituencyapproximately 5.8 million or 2.5% of the national voting populationwho live alongside the ruling enfranchised electorateis one of the scandals of our generation. In this second edition of Felony Disenfranchisement in America, Katherine Irene Pettus draws on philosophy, history, law, and punishment theory to make the compelling argument that state disenfranchisement policies have collective moral and political significance that transcends the personal tragedy of being legally deprived of full citizenship status. Pettus argues that the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and racially unbalanced disenfranchisement rates distort and disfigure the body politic as a whole, and undermine the legitimacy of the domestic and foreign policies promulgated by our elected representatives.
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