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48 states in America prevent or impair felons and ex-felons from their right to vote as guaranteed by the 15th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are talking about hundreds of thousand of individuals who cannot vote ...

48 states in America prevent or impair felons and ex-felons from their right to vote as guaranteed by the 15th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are talking about hundreds of thousand of individuals who cannot vote That amendment states:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

While, the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870; a direct legacy of the Radical Republicans (my favorite American political party), was primarily intended to prevent blacks from voting, the language is clear. When the language is unambiguous, then legislative intent is irrelevant. The only question is, does an ex-felon or felon qualify as having previously been in a condition of previous servitude .
Read more about the issues at www.2concon.org .

Originally posted to 2conconORG on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:49 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yes, this has always bothered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cn4st4datrees

    me, as a non-us ciitizen. i'm glad it's being looked at...

  •  No it isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    varro, cn4st4datrees

    But I agree that baring ex-felons is a mistake.  I like Oregon's law, if you're currently imprisoned on a felony conviction, you can't vote but once you're out you can.  Avoids the risk of purges like happened in FL...

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

  •  There's a reason they bar a lot of felons (0+ / 0-)

    They're disproportionately black or a Hispanic minority.

    Which means they won't vote Republican. So there's little incentive for guys like Charlie Crist or Jeb Bush before him to change that.

    If I recall, in fact, Jeb Bush was very proactive in making sure that no felon anywhere ever slipped onto a voting list. Probably for that reason.

    "Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up..." - Barack Obama.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 08:55:06 AM PDT

  •  I don't think servitude is the correct argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, cn4st4datrees

    Arrest and conviction remove rights (like freedom) and, upon complete adjudication from the criminal justice system, they are restored with certain, limited exceptions (gun ownership, e.g.).

    Denying the vote to felons is more like the poll tax or intelligence tests used to minimize the voting rights of the underprivileged and minorities, IMHO.  The same kind of federal effort that ended this discrimination will have to be used for ex-felons.

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:03:28 AM PDT

  •  I just spoke this weekend to an ex-felon. (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't know about his past at the time.  We were just talking about things in general, and I asked if he was registered to vote.  That's when he said no, he couldn't vote, because he's an ex-felon.

    This just bugs the crap out of me.  What ever happened to the notion of "having paid your debt to society"?

    To me, once you're off probation or on parole, you've paid your debt; you have no further time to serve as long as you keep your nose clean.  Why then should you remain disenfranchised from engaging in the democratic system?  It's just plain wrong.

    I understand that these laws (prohibiting ex-felons from voting) are probably intended to act as deterrents -- commit the crime, forever lose your right to vote.  But we see how well certain laws act as deterrents, don't we?  I mean, with the death penalty back in place, almost no murders are occurring in this country, are there?

    Laws prohibiting ex-felons from voting are archaic, and should be repealed.

    If we're not willing to boldly refute the lies, the lies will stand as truth. (-6.75, -6.72)

    by cn4st4datrees on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:03:48 AM PDT

  •  The practice sets (0+ / 0-)

    my teeth on edge.

    My state gets many (many, many, many!) things, wrong, but in Illinois, the franchise is only barred if you are actively incarcerated.

    A huge part of my job is working with the ex-offender population and one of the things I hammer home repeatedly is,

    "If you don't like the law as it has been explained to you, it's your job to change it!  GOTV"

    John McCain = George W. Bush - shorter, uglier and a $hitload meaner!

    by luvsathoroughbred on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:07:00 AM PDT

  •  The 14th amendment (0+ / 0-)

    specifically allows disenfranchisement for "participation in rebellion, or other crime".

    "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes." - Lewis Carroll

    by Dave1955 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 at 09:11:47 AM PDT

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