Political Crimes and Voting

Topics: Democracy, United States Constitution, Elections Pages: 10 (3832 words) Published: August 20, 2013
The standard sense of the phrase, a political crime is an action deemed illegal by a government in order to control real or imagine threats to its survival, at the expense of a range of human rights and freedoms. Thus actions which are not criminal per se, meaning that they are not anti-social, but pro-social, are criminality at the convenience of the group holding power. In criminology, a political crime is an act or omission prejudicial to the interests of the state or government like espionage, sedition and treason. Political crimes generally arise from political disturbances. It includes offenses arising from attack on the political order. Extradition treaties evidences that political crimes involve violence and uprising of violent political disturbances. Historically, the term refers to conspiracy, and illegal acts that are designed to undermine an existing government and threaten its survival. The issue of voting rights in the United States has been contentious throughout history. Eligibility to vote in the U.S. is determined by both federal and state law. Currently, only citizens can vote in U.S. elections although this has not always been the case. Who is a citizen is governed on a national basis by federal law. In the absence of a federal law or constitutional amendment, each state is given considerable discretion to establish qualifications for suffrage and candidacy within its own jurisdiction. When the country was founded, in most states, only white men with real property such as land or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. Freed Americans could vote in four states. Unprotected white men, almost all women, and all other people of color were denied the franchise. At the time of the American Civil War, most white men were allowed to vote, whether or not they owned property. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and even religious tests were used in various places, and most women, people of color, and Native Americans still could not vote. The United States Constitution, in Article VI, section 3, states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." The Constitution, however, leaves the determination of voting qualifications to the individual states. Over time, the federal role in elections has increased through amendments to the Constitution and enacted legislation, such as the Voting Right Act of 1965 (Harper, 1898). Remember that the Heritage Foundation and the right wing extremists joined together and started their propaganda campaign because of the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Right Act 1965. At least four of the fifteen post-civil war constitution amendments were ratified specifically to extend voting rights to different groups of citizens. These extensions state that voting cannot be denied or abridged based on the following: •Birth- "All persons born or naturalized" "are citizens" of the U.S. and the U.S. State where they reside (14th Amendment, 1868). •"Race, color, or previous condition of servitude" (15th Amendment, 1870) •"On account of sex" (19th Amendment, 1920)

In Washington, D.C., presidential elections after 164 years suspension by U.S. Congress (23rd Amendment, 1961) •For federal elections "By reason of failure to pay any poll tax" (24th Amendment, 1964) •(For state elections) Taxes - (Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966)) •"Who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state or by any state on account of age' (26th Amendment, 1971). In addition, the 17th Amendment provided for the direct election of United States Senators. The "right to vote" is not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution except in the above referenced amendment, and only in reference to the fact that the franchise cannot be denied or abridged based solely on the aforementioned qualifications. In...
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