Constituents Behind Bars
If rural towns are going to count "the involuntary presence of convicted prisoners inhabiting the correctional facilities in their districts as constituents" Serwer thinks prisoners should get a vote:
The proper thing, in my view, is to allow prisoners to vote, as they do in Maine and Vermont. Counting people who are unable to vote from their home address strikes me as only slightly fairer than counting them from where they are incarcerated. I see the reasoning behind removing the right to vote during incarceration, but if people literally can't vote it's not really fair to count them as a constituent, and not counting them isn't a viable alternative either. There also isn't any real civic benefit from felony disenfranchisement -- it doesn't deter crime, it's a purely punitive measure that uses criminal liability as an excuse to take away the votes of people who don't have much of a political voice anyway.