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Felons' voting rights
In an address Tuesday at a criminal justice conference, Attorney General Eric Holder challenged state laws that take away the voting rights of convicted felons forever:
"It is time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision," Holder is to tell the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights Criminal Justice Forum at Georgetown law school. "These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive. By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes." [...]
"However well-intentioned current advocates of felony disenfranchisement may be—the reality is that these measures are, at best, profoundly outdated," Holder is to say. "At worst, these laws, with their disparate impact on minority communities, echo policies enacted during a deeply troubled period in America’s past—a time of post-Civil War discrimination.  And they have their roots in centuries-old conceptions of justice that were too often based on exclusion, animus, and fear."
Indeed.

Laws in this matter vary widely from state to state. For instance, in two, Maine and Vermont, convicted felons may vote absentee while they are incarcerated. Most states have some form of automatic restoration after felons serve their sentence or that plus parole and probation time. But, depending on circumstances, 11 states, mostly in the West and South, can disenfranchise felons forever if they choose to do so.

Please read below the fold for more on this subject.

In Florida, felons must appeal for a clemency ruling from the governor to get back their franchise. Governors there can flat out ignore those pleas and often do. In Arizona, felons who have been twice convicted are disenfranchised for good. In Nevada, only those convicted of non-violent offenses are given their voting rights back. Virginia requires that felons convicted of non-violent offenses now have their voting rights automatically restored. That is thanks to last year's action by former Gov. Bob McDonnell, who, ironically, could find himself a beneficiary of that move if he is convicted of fraud and corruption charges. Violent offenders in Virginia, however, must wait five years before they can appeal to the governor's office to have their voting rights restored. And the process can take several more years when it succeeds at all.

This is an instance when a federal statute should be passed to take precedence.

Nationwide, according to The Sentencing Project, 5.85 million Americans are barred from voting because of felony convictions. Because of disparities about who gets arrested, tried and convicted, one in 13 African Americans is disenfranchised. This has an impact not only on the individuals convicted but also on political power.

In a 2012 article in the University of Richmond Law Review about felony disenfranchisement in Virginia, Dori Elizabeth Martin wrote:

Felony disenfranchisement profoundly impacts the political opportunity available to minority communities. Using a procedure called the “usual residence rule,” the Census Bureau counts prisoners as residents of the district in which they are incarcerated.
The result is often artificially inflated population totals in rural, majority white communities at the expense of the (largely minority) communities the inmates ordinarily would call home.

Of course, government funding and political representation are both functions of population, as determined by the Census, so the inmates quite literally increase the value of prison communities without reaping any of the benefits, while leaving their families and neighbors underrepresented. Critics of this system have compared its practical effects to the “Three-Fifths” Compromise in the original United States Constitution, which gave slaveowning states more political influence by including slaves in the population tallies for determining congressional representation.

If the goal of temporary incarceration is rehabilitation, as is supposedly the case, how can a person be fully rehabilitated if he or she cannot exercise one of the basic rights of an American citizen? Not to mention the whole "taxation without representation" bit—can you truly say you're represented if you had no opportunity to choose your representative?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm impressed! (24+ / 0-)

    I'm glad someone in that administration is taking his or her lame duck status seriously. I get the feeling that Holder isn't going to leave the office until he does everything he wanted to to when he accepted the position.

  •  Anyone no longer incarcerated should have (26+ / 0-)

    their full rights back, unless a particular right is germane to the crime they committed (gun felons cannot own a gun, voter fraud cannot vote, etc).

    Exception would be sex offenders, but I think that whole system of dealing with them should be reformed.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:39:07 AM PST

    •  I do so agree (14+ / 0-)

      part of your punishment is loss of voting rights - but only whilst inside!

      When time is served, you rejoin society and that means you vote, if you want.  No way should you have to ask for this.

      Much outrage here in the UK about European laws requiring that some prisoners may vote - and I think I agree with the opponents.  Ex prisoners, they vote.

    •  I'm disturbed by any law (22+ / 0-)

      in which someone is continued to be punished after serving their time.

         If we want to keep punishing people then extend the amount of time they serve. Simple as that.
        But restricting their rights after they've served their time (and this includes sex offenders) simply makes 2nd-class citizens. And that is dangerous to the rights of all of us.
         IMHO, denying people rights after they've served their time should be against the Constitution.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:17:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With exceptions, I agree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea

        Again, rights germane to the crime might be a different matter, but perhaps on a case-by-case basis.  Not opposed to probation either as long as it's not an undue burden.

        While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:43:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sex offenders are usually punished for life. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago, gerrilea

        Here in California, as in many states, those convicted of certain sex crimes are subject to lifetime sex offender registration requirements.  They are also subject to residency restrictions that can make it very hard for them to find a place to live.

        Do they really need to be disenfranchised as well?  

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:22:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you need to punish someone for life (7+ / 0-)

          Then put them in jail for life. Simple as that.

           But that would require justifying why a sex offender must be jailed for life. Something most people can't do.
          The current law allows us to keep punishing someone without actually "fixing the problem" or justifying the punishment.
             It undermines the whole system of justice and creates 2nd class citizens.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:29:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree completely. (0+ / 0-)

            Except for the part about putting people in jail for life.  I think that should be reserved for only the most exceptional cases.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:29:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          If you are a child molester you obviously do not have the character or judgment to be voting.  

          •  Not all sex offenders are (0+ / 0-)

            child molesters.  

            "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

            by Calamity Jean on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 11:17:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So? (0+ / 0-)

              Using an example I feel is silly.  People Ie drunk college students who take a piss in  semi public areas would be considered sex offenders in Massachusetts.  This is stupid.

              They should not be considered sex offenders.

              The problem is not that sex offenders can not vote, be near children etc. Its that some people are incorrectly labeled sex offenders.

              But that does not speak to the fact that child molesters do not have character or the judgment to be voting or near children.

              You want to create separate categories? Fine thats superficial to the point that child molesters fairly deserve extra restrictions their whole lives.

              •  I'm sorry, that doesn't follow. (0+ / 0-)
                ...child molesters do not have character or the judgment to be voting....
                Even a person who is really a child molester may have legitimate opinions about foreign relations, climate change, budgets, etc.  I don't see how being a child molester should make a person unable to vote.  I understand that you don't like sex offenders (neither do I), but if other convicted felons are allowed to vote, they should be also.  

                "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

                by Calamity Jean on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:03:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes it does follow (0+ / 0-)

                  If a person is a child molester they have proven without a shadow of a doubt that they do not cognitive or moral strength to be a respectable member of society

                  Voting is not a right. It is a privilege given to those a state deems worthy .

                  Their disregard for any kind of decency and their acts against children is a universally recognized despicable act. It is entirely reasonable to believe that their misbehavior has so tainted their persona that they will never be worthy of the privilege to vote.  

                  The same can not be said of the drunk freshmen who peed on a fire hydrant.

                  It is rather obvious that those two acts deserve wildly different punishments.  

                  For some reason you think voting is "omg special." Its not.

                  You drink and drive, you cant drive.

                  You are negligent in firearms usage, you cant own a firearm

                  You fail to have human decency, you can not vote.

                  Actually if anything the right to own a firearm is FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR more protected constitutionally than the privilege to vote.

      •  Remember guns? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfsly, O112358

        We routinely restrict the gun ownership rights of ex-felons. I'm not saying that restricting voting rights is the same, or that either should automatically be permanently revoked, but I could certainly understand not getting those rights back on the same day you get released from jail. Likewise, in some cases I think permanent revocation is merited.

        It ought to be part of the sentence, determined as a function of the crime in question, and then re-examined at release. If you're on parole, you're still under supervision and should not yet get those rights back unless the parole board determines otherwise; you haven't fully "paid your debt" yet. Similarly, if you're released outright, you should get those rights back absent a compelling reason to withhold them.

        Former libertarian...who grew up.

        by RevBobMIB on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 05:31:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Its not a constitutional right to vote. (0+ / 0-)

        Your description of "doing your time" is arbitrary.  Jail time is the ONLY punishment? lolz

        The judicial system is free to impose whatever punishments it deems reasonable and legal.

        It could mandate that jaywalkers must wear fake fish on their heads for 30 years, if that were reasonable and not socially unusual .

        Its entirely reasonable that part of a punishment takes place in jail and part takes place outside. Not being allowed to vote or spend time near children is reasonably part of that punishment.

        If rehabilitation is your shtick (its not mine)  its rather silly to think that the process is all or nothing.

        An offender may be ready to start to integrate back into society but not fully.  As that processes moves along the punishments get reduced during a gradual processes.

        This in my non expert opinion seems to match much more closely with a informed behavioral modification program.

        Your all or nothing approach actually is an approach designed to cause recidivism.

  •  Department of Corrections (8+ / 0-)

    Aren't most prisons part of a State Department of Corrections? As in, "correcting a criminal's mistakes?"

    So if they've been "corrected" by the time they are released from prison, why not give them the right to vote?

    Just asking'...

    New Mexico: Not really new. Not really Mexico.

    by newmexicobear on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:44:10 AM PST

  •  I believe everyone should have the right to (16+ / 0-)

    vote.  That includes those who are incarcerated.  

    What better way to demonstrate to prisoners, their responsibility to society?

    •  I've never heard a decent justification for (10+ / 0-)

      taking away their voting rights when incarcerated. It doesn't seem like an appropriate punishment, and there's no reason it should be denied as a right otherwise either. Especially given our racist justice system and the disenfranchisement that leads to.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:46:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the days before absentee voting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        when you actually had to go to a polling place, I could see the reasoning -- setting up a polling place in the prison could be a security issue, and how do you determine residency -- would you be considered a "constituent" in the district where the prison was located or would they have to use their hometown (where they lived before incarceration) which might be some distance away.

        Now though with computers and such, those issues are less prevalent.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:15:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lovely rhetoric. Now, what does he intend (5+ / 0-)

    to do about it? How far can the DOJ go to rectify this?

    •  I think this is bully pulpit material... (17+ / 0-)

      ...He is not the first attorney general to urge changes that he and the DOJ cannot make on their own. Having such a high official make this an issue can help spur others to take action. Here on this site, hundreds of people every day make proposals they have no way of implementing themselves. Should they be silent?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:13:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BelgianBastard, Black Max

        The fact that we are even talking about this is pretty amazing. For decades, people from both parties have been pretty silent about this.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 06:48:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, he is making it a national issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Black Max

        that state Democratic parties, candidates, and officials can take up when they know that they have wider support and more general public awareness. The question is in part whether that could be put into a new Voting Rights Act, now being discussed, and in part whether putting it on the ballot statewide would bring out more Democratic voters for whom the issue is personal, concerning close friends and relatives.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:55:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My father was an inmate before I was born - (0+ / 0-)

        twice, for non-violent crimes.

        He maintained a wariness/skepticism/cynicism toward government until the day he died, more than 30 years after leaving his prison cell. I am one of eight children who were led by his role modeling on social/political issues, and didn't understand my own skepticism/paranoia about law enforcement and civic engagement until I was about thirty years old, and even then it was marginal, as I was just beginning to find my own way by then.

        How much time might have been spent in less frustrating postures toward government, I'll never really know. But multiply that times eight siblings, then by a few million more children of felons, and you've got a whole second generation of half alienated citizens, and worse, candidates for senseless cynicism where their own government is concerned.

        If rehabilitation included some reasonable class discussion of civic responsibility and the importance of the franchise while in prison, this could constructively impact lives for decades beyond the immediate incarceration.

        For the families as well as the prisoners...

        Mistakes are the portals of discovery. - James Joyce

        by Beastly Fool on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 11:01:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A better approach might be to quit expanding the (12+ / 0-)

    list of felonies. Having said that, it seem the biggest part of the problem is the war on drugs. In addition to ending that we should clear the records of those convicted only of use or distribution.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:49:43 AM PST

  •  It should be... but it won't be. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CwV, bear83, Sue B, BelgianBastard
    This is an instance when a federal statute should be passed to take precedence.
    Fat chance of that happening with this Congress. Making it so that more people can vote who aren't likely to vote for Republicans and opening themselves up to "soft on crime" attacks? I'm thinking that's a lost cause.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:49:52 AM PST

  •  Holder will go down as a great AG (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, BelgianBastard

    This issue is one that few talk about.

    Those who have served their time barely have anyone to advocate on their behalf to restore their full rights as citizens.

    Does it need a constitutional amendment or simple congressional legislation to mandate ALL states to restore voter rights to felons who have done their time?

  •  Abraham Lincoln spoke words relevant to this (4+ / 0-)

    subject in 1854 in Peoria when condemning  the Kansas-Nebraska Act (bolding added):

    Judge Douglas frequently, with bitter irony and sarcasm, paraphrases our argument by saying “The white people of Nebraska are good enough to govern themselves, but they are not good enough to govern a few miserable Negroes!!”

    Well I doubt not that the people of Nebraska are, and will continue to be as good as the average of people elsewhere. I do not say the contrary. What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without the other's consent. I say this is the leading principle--the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Our Declaration of Independence says:

    “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights,governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.”

    I have quoted so much at this time merely to show that according to our ancient faith, the just powers of governments are derived from the consent of the governed. Now the relation of masters and slaves is, PRO TANTO, a total violation of this principle. The master not only governs the slave without his consent; but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only is self-government.

    [...]
    Still further; there are constitutional relations between the slave and free States, which are degrading to the latter. We are under legal obligations to catch and return their runaway slaves to them---a sort of dirty, disagreeable job, which I believe, as a general rule the slave-holders will not perform for one another. Then again, in the control of the government---the management of the partnership affairs---they have greatly the advantage of us. By the constitution, each State has two Senators---each has a number of Representatives; in proportion to the number of its people---and each has a number of presidential electors, equal to the whole number of its Senators and Representatives together. But in ascertaining the number of the people, for this purpose, five slaves are counted as being equal to three whites. The slaves do not vote; they are only counted and so used, as to swell the influence of the white people's votes. The practical effect of this is more aptly shown by a comparison of the States of South Carolina and Maine. South Carolina has six representatives, and so has Maine; South Carolina has eight presidential electors, and so has Maine. This is precise equality so far; and, of course they are equal in Senators, each having two. Thus in the control of the government, the two States are equals precisely. But how are they in the number of their white people? Maine has 581,813---while South Carolina has 274,567. Maine has twice as many as South Carolina, and 32,679 over. Thus each white man in South Carolina is more than the double of any man in Maine. This is all because South Carolina, besides her free people, has 384,984 slaves. The South Carolinian has precisely the same advantage over the white man in every other free State, as well as in Maine. He is more than the double of any one of us in this crowd. The same advantage, but not to the same extent, is held by all the citizens of the slave States, over those of the free; and it is an absolute truth, without an exception, that there is no voter in any slave State, but who has more legal power in the government, than any voter in any free State. There is no instance of exact equality; and the disadvantage is against us the whole chapter through. This principle, in the aggregate, gives the slave States, in the present Congress, twenty additional representatives---being seven more than the whole majority by which they passed the Nebraska bill.

    Now all this is manifestly unfair; yet I do not mention it to complain of it, in so far as it is already settled. It is in the constitution; and I do not, for that cause, or any other cause, propose to destroy, or alter, or disregard the constitution. I stand to it, fairly, fully, and firmly.

    But when I am told I must leave it altogether to OTHER PEOPLE to say whether new partners are to be bred up and brought into the firm, on the same degrading terms against me. I respectfully demur. I insist, that whether I shall be a whole man, or only, the half of one, in comparison with others, is a question in which I am somewhat concerned; and one which no other man can have a sacred right of deciding for me. If I am wrong in this---if it really be a sacred right of self-government, in the man who shall go to Nebraska, to decide whether he will be the EQUAL of me or the DOUBLE of me, then after he shall have exercised that right, and thereby shall have reduced me to a still smaller fraction of a man than I already am, I should like for some gentleman deeply skilled in the mysteries of sacred rights, to provide himself with a microscope, and peep about, and find out, if he can, what has become of my sacred rights! They will surely be too small for detection with the naked eye.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:56:53 AM PST

  •  A guy hit my mother on the head (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, LilithGardener, lotlizard

    with the claw end of a hammer ,
    crushed in her skull , then raped her .
    She was "lucky" that some of the broken skull clamped off blood flow or she would have bled to death .
    Do you want to let him vote on the rules you will have to live by ?
    Do you want him to have a voice in who will be representing you ?

    He was let out after just a few years in prison .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:59:29 AM PST

    •  I think this is going to be a hard comment for (6+ / 0-)

      anyone to reply to without sounding like an ass, but I'll give it a try.

      My condolences to you and your family.

      Do you have any particular reason to believe that he wouldn't end up voting for the exact same people and rules you do?  Not all people who commit crimes, even horrifically violent ones are Republicans.  He might not even bother to vote, given the option.

      •  So you would hand him a ballot (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, Norm in Chicago

        and value his opinion ?
        You would allow him , after what he has done , to have a voice in what rules you should live by ?

        Do you have any particular reason to believe that he wouldn't end up voting for the exact same people and rules you do?
        So if he votes the way I do , he should be given a ballot ?
        Is that your argument ? Really ?

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

        by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:21:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So if you neither know, nor care how he votes (6+ / 0-)

          why do you object to him voting?

          Yes, he did a horrible personal injury to your family.

          What exactly does that have to do with voting, especially given your lack of interest in how he votes?

          •  You object based on how he votes ? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Norm in Chicago, 207wickedgood

            You want to know how he fills out his ballot before you approve or object ?

            What exactly does that have to do with voting, especially given your lack of interest in how he votes?
            Your whole line of reasoning is odd to say the least . "lack of interest in how he votes" I'm a poll worker , I show a complete and total lack of interest in how people vote , I don't get to discriminate based on "how he votes" .

            You should drop that line of argument , its beyond wrong .

            Yes, he did a horrible personal injury to your family.
            What exactly does that have to do with voting
            Really ? You don't even see a connection ? Really ?

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

            by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:46:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And, btw, to answer your other question (7+ / 0-)

          Do I value his opinion?  Probably not, but then I don't value the opinions of roughly half the electorate, and they all still vote for idiots and con artists like John Boehner, who then turn around and try to make sure that millions of my fellow citizens stay uninsured and die years earlier.

          •  You would give him a ballot = value his opinion . (0+ / 0-)

            Is there anyone you would say should not get to vote ?

            Murderers ?
            Rapists ?
            Pedophiles ?
            Arsonists ?

            Would you let them vote while in prison ?
            If not why not ?

            If there is no connection between doing crimes and voting ,
            why keep prisoners from voting ?

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

            by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:52:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. I would withhold ballots from those who (5+ / 0-)

              commit political crimes, especially related to voting.

              I don't see a connection between voting and any other type of crime, really.  So yeah, I'd be fine with letting most prisoners vote, too.

              •  So murder / rape is ok (0+ / 0-)

                but political / voting crimes are not ?

                I think your priorities are a bit askew .

                So yeah, I'd be fine with letting most prisoners vote, too.
                Charles Manson ?

                After the sob who did that to my mother was let out of prison,
                he stabbed a young woman to death and raped her ,
                he is in prison now . And you would let him vote but a person who votes twice in one election should be banned from voting ?

                Buckner continues to serve his 80-year sentence while a resentencing hearing is scheduled.

                The Court of Appeals said Kristianson properly identified some of the elements necessary for a sentence longer than the standard range of 24 to 32 years. For example, stabbing the victim 15 times constituted deliberate cruelty.

                But the court said Kristianson didn’t cite adequate evidence that Buckner constituted a future danger as a sex offender despite increasing violence in his previous 12 felonies. In one case prosecutor Jerry Wetle cited, an assault victim lived only because bone fragments from her hammer-shattered skull stemmed the flow of blood.

                This is the guy would would let vote ?
                Good thing for him he didn't vote twice and loose your concern for his voting rights !

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:29:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  If you would withhold a ballot (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koosah, BelgianBastard

              from him, then the Republicans are free to say they would withhold a ballot from you were you convicted of a felony (even if falsely accused or convicted).

              There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

              by Cali Scribe on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:18:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When making exceptions, you inevitably have (0+ / 0-)

                the slippery slope argument.  Where do you draw the bright line, if you draw a line at all?

                When "DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED" was included among the governing principles of our democracy, we were still making exceptions, like slavery and women's right to vote, and in some places there were poll taxes.

                History has incrementally rolled back the exceptions, and now, "the consent of the governed" seems more and more the desire of all citizens, all who are governed. And who is more governed than the prisoner of the state?

                Regardless of their crime, their being governed, subject to the punishment and rehabilitation regimes of the state - their being governed is undeniable - inescapable - and it seems that only those with no further possibility of re-entering society might logically be denied the right to vote. Every other prisoner, even if they are being held long term, with a hope of return to the outside has an investment in a better society, according to their best judgement.

                And officially expressing that investment - that's what voting is all about.

                I'm aware I've made an exception here - for those sentenced to life in prison - but that is the only clear bright line that makes sense for a democracy that believes in ruling by the consent of the governed.

                Mistakes are the portals of discovery. - James Joyce

                by Beastly Fool on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 11:28:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  That is awful. It's just as awful that my best (10+ / 0-)

      friend's nephew wouldn't get to vote in many states because he was the dumb one who got caught (literally) holding the bag in a group of drug users. They are free, still using and can vote.  He's been incarcerated, been through treatment and has cleaned up his act.  

      He's only 32.  Should he never vote again?  

      Need I even mention that he is a POC?

      I'm not sure what the answer is, indycam.  What is happening currently isn't justice in a lot of cases, though.    

      Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

      by koosah on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:12:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would you let him vote after what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, lotlizard, koosah

        he did to my mother ? Yes or no ?

        If you are for giving felons a ballot ,
        then you are for letting that guy vote .

        The answer can't be , let felons vote , if you would not let that felon vote .
        Another answer might work , but until someone comes up with an answer that never lets that guy vote , there is no answer .

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

        by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:38:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You deserve a thoughtful answer to your question (5+ / 0-)

          and I apologize because I had to leave before giving you one.  I got back and I've been trying to organize my thoughts.  

          Let me preface everything with a sincere acknowledgment that your family's experience is heartbreaking and horrific.  I am not going to say "I understand how you feel" because I can't and I hope to god I never experience what you have to gain that understanding.  That said, you have my sincere compassion and sympathy.  I'm sorry for your Mom, that she endured such a heinous assault and sorry for you and your family that someone you love was ever in this situation.

          And that's the problem right there.  Real people experience things that affect them as individuals.  Societies don't.  

          I know you are probably already dismissing what I'm saying, but I hope you keep reading.  Nothing I write is going to change your mind, and I'm not going to try, but I still think you deserve a thoughtful reply.    

          Yes.  I don't want to give that bastard a vote, but yes, I would.  Because I don't know how not to.  

          For me this is in the same category as the Death Penalty.  Pro- DP people always like to pull the Michael Dukakis thing and ask, "What if YOUR [child, mother, wife, etc.] were brutally raped and killed?  Would you vote to let the murderer live?"  My answer is always, "I would be the first in line to flip the switch if anyone ever puts a finger on my young son and I wouldn't lose a minute sleep over it.  BUT I am NOT in that position and I'm GRATEFUL that society has LAWS that take that choice out of my hands."  

          Why?  

          Because until someone can GUARANTEE that the police never make a mistake, that juries are never wrong and that the laws aren't used to unjustly and disproportionately to imprison people of color and people without resources and just plain marginalized people, then I don't think we should use the police, the courts and the law to deprive people of their lives.  

          Believe me...I would want my son's murderer to be dead and hopefully painfully dead.  But I live in a flawed society that makes mistakes and those "mistakes" are not random.  Frequently, they aren't random.  These "mistakes" are made purposefully to keep segments of society dispossessed and disenfranchised and economically bereft.

          Again, I know I'm not swaying you or changing your mind.  I am merely giving you the reason for my answer and please know I am not going to insult you with trying to "argue" with you about it.  I hope you are reading this and that you can see I am honestly not doing that.  You asked for an answer and given your horrifying experience you deserve more than a short one.  

          If anyone ever hurts my son I would want to kill the bastard and make them suffer.  Depriving them of a vote would be the LEAST I would want to do. But I am very, very grateful I live in a society that won't let me do that.  

          And I think I want to live in a society that also admits it is using the mistakes it makes to oppress minorities and disproportionately deprive them of the right to vote by incarcerating them.  

          I am so sorry your family has endured this, indycam.  Your story proves that easy, blanket answers just aren't acceptable.  Please know you are in my thoughts.                    

          Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

          by koosah on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 03:45:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  He could already be a voter (10+ / 0-)

      depending on which jurisdiction this happened in.

      But assuming he is not--that this happened in one of the 11 states referenced in the diary that can permanently disenfranchise someone--then my answer to your question is yes. Anyone who would do what you describe is a terrible person. Evil. Very probably a person I would consider mentally unsound. And not knowing any more of the details than what you have given, I am sorry he is not still locked away. I cannot find any sympathy for or point of commonality with such a man.

      However, terrible, evil, and quite possibly mentally unsound are descriptors that apply to many people who already have the vote. We cannot afford to treat the voting franchise as something citizens get because they deserve it. The franchise is not a reward. If we treat it as one, there will always be people who will chip away at it by declaring some citizens undeserving of its receipt.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:18:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you would let him vote ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

        by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:31:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As one person, I don't make decisions like that (7+ / 0-)

          We don't and never should hand that power to one person.

          But so you don't think I'm dodging your question, I'll try to make clearer the answer I'd tried to make clear above. I believe we all should ensure that all citizens have the vote, including those citizens we have every reason to loathe, because once exceptions are made for a few, there are and always will be those who will work to expand those exceptions.

          My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
          --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

          by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:46:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You would or would not give him a ballot ? (0+ / 0-)

            Yes or no .

            I believe we all should ensure that all citizens have the vote, including those citizens we have every reason to loathe,
            You would give him a ballot .

            You are for criminals voting .
            There is one one you would stop from voting .
            You would give a ballot to murders , rapists , pedophiles , arsonists , terrorists , etc etc etc .
            You would even give a ballot to a person who has committed election fraud .

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

            by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:58:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So long as someone is a US citizen (6+ / 0-)

              there is NO crime that I believe should debar voting. The only conceivable legitimate reason to remove the franchise from criminals is the worry that they might somehow succeed via the ballot in decriminalizing certain crimes. There is absolutely no way they can do this if the majority of noncriminals feels differently. This will never be true of the crimes of murder, rape, pedophilia, arson, terrorism, etc.

              I do not see removing the civic voice of felons out of a desire for revenge as a legitimate reason, especially as the vast majority of felons do not fall into the categories you list. Moreover, there are all too many reasons to disenfranchise voters to gain electoral advantage. This has had and continues to have a pernicious effect upon our democracy, as pointed out in the diary.

              My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
              --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

              by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:18:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You seem to have trouble comprehending (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim, BelgianBastard

              The answer has already been "yes" in multiple instances.

            •  Citizens, not criminals. (6+ / 0-)

              Once a person has served his time, he should return to society with the same rights as other citizens.  The right to vote attaches to citizenship, and it's a fundamental right.

              If one were to pursue your argument to its logical end, we would continue to disenfranchise countless thousands of black and brown men who have ended up in prison as a result of a "justice" system that's heavily skewed against them.  Is that what you want?

              The person you're discussing committed a horrible crime, and perhaps he received a sentence that was insufficiently severe (you seem to indicate that).  But that's an entirely separate issue which has more to do with either the particular state's penal code or the sentencing judge.  

              In the end, you may simply believe this person cannot be rehabilitated.  If that's the case, though, then the solution is not to deprive all former felons of the right to vote; it's to keep this guy in jail for the rest of his life.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:37:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, and I'm not trying to be an asshole but (8+ / 0-)

      what about someone who scammed another person or was arrested with drugs for personal use, you know non violent  crimes. Do you think these individuals should lose their right to vote forever. I understand its an extraordinarily painful  issue for you but such decisions aren't based on an individual case nor should they be, they are based on what's fair and right for society as a whole.

      •  So you would give him the right to vote ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        You would hand him a ballot .

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

        by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:33:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If he'd done his time yes. I'd find it (8+ / 0-)

          unbelievably sickening but I would. Know I have a question for you. Would you take away the right to vote50 or 60 or 70 years from every teenager who had a felony drug conviction for possession. Ultimately this is about what a felony is. You've given the example of a horrendous  crime. I've giving the example of what are non-violent and in some cases victimless crimes. Would you snatch ballot papers from these peoples' hand once they served their time?

          •  You would give the vote to (0+ / 0-)

            a murder and rapist and then you ask me about something else ?
            Your position is such that I have no interest in answering your questions , you would give the vote to everyone no matter what .

            If you want to change the system so that your felon can vote , do it , but if you give murders / rapists a ballot , I'll never support your change .

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

            by indycam on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:06:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok, fine. We disagree but please answer my (4+ / 0-)

              question. I answered yours. The u.s. incarcerates more people in the world than any other country and its not close. Would you permanently take the right to vote away from all of them, including a disproportionate percentage who are young and minorities for the rest of their lives and haven't committed violent crimes. As I said, I've answered your question. Please answer mine.

            •  "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leftist vegetarian patriot

              the above signature line suggests the possibility that I might be asked to forgive, which I am willing to do.

              And very quickly this moves into some very deep territory, where even the most revered religious leaders in history have asked for divine help.

              Indycam, to suffer what you and your family have suffered is beyond what can be fully acknowledged in a discussion forum like this one.

              The healing from this is not about someone's individual vote, whether that's seen as an injustice, or a necessary part of a much larger freedom.

              The healing for your family's pain is so personal to you and to them that I'm treading on sacred ground even speaking of it.

              Daily, we see injustice in the world. And on occasion it knocks on our own door and throws our entire reality into chaos. And we might look for revenge, or for meaning, or for righteous causes - for years.

              But after all the efforts to make things right, they're still akilter, and in need of something, something to ease the heartache and pain.

              And there may come a moment when we can hear words like the ones you use in your signature line rising from within: "please love deeply...openly and genuinely."

              please forgive my clumsy attempt to be authentic in my thoughts - I see this has for a long time been a painful issue for you - and I'm sorry the violence happened in your family...

              I mentioned up above that my father had been incarcerated before I was born for non-violent crimes, and how his mistrust of government spilled over onto his eight kids. He did his best to be a good father, but in this area, he left us with our own contempt for authority, which kept me from getting involved in community activities.

              If only for the children of the millions of felons who have spent time in our prisons, it makes sense to me that we find some way to re-educate prisoners as to the importance of government, of democracy, and of voting.

              At least have mercy for the children...

              Mistakes are the portals of discovery. - James Joyce

              by Beastly Fool on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 12:05:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I look at the crime as irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftist vegetarian patriot

      As horrible as that person is, IMO the only things that matter with regards to voting are whether he is a citizen, and still living.  Since the state did not choose to execute him, then the right to vote should not be subject to any limitations. So, no, I do not want to let him vote, but yes, I think he should be allowed to vote.  I look at like free speech; I don't have to like what's being said.

      I support a modified 2nd Amendment; "the right to keep and bear arms vote shall not be infringed".

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 07:43:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are issues that he has an interest in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftist vegetarian patriot

      that nobody else can fully represent for him, such as the quality of our police, our justice system, and our prisons.

      Yours is a strawman argument. It is not required that violent felons automatically receive their voting rights back.

      But suppose we decide that they should. How many violent rapists would get their voting rights back, compared with the number of non-violent drug offenders? Would you deny them their rights in order to punish a much smaller number further? Are you of the opinion that our democracy is so fragile that it cannot withstand the votes of a few felons, when we currently have to withstand the votes of Republicans?

      To answer my previous question, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network says that there are 238,000 sexual assaults a year in the US, with a 3% conviction rate, or about 7,000 a year going into prison and later coming out. (Numbers of offenses from other sources are significantly different, but we are talking about conviction and incarceration.) Many fewer involve life-threatening injury or murder. Imprisonments for marijuana possession and use run about ten times higher, with many more imprisoned on other drug charges. (Lester Grinspoon, M.D.& James B. Bakalar, J.D. (February 3, 1994). The War on Drugs—A Peace Proposal 330 (5). New England Journal of Medicine. pp. 357–360.)

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:10:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  See the ACLU map of State Felony (10+ / 0-)

    Disfranchisement Laws

    https://www.aclu.org/...

    Thank you  Eric Holder, and thanks for posting this MB - this is really important in our communities of color, and poor areas where people are more likely to have a record due to the criminal injustice system.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:59:30 AM PST

  •  What we really need... (13+ / 0-)

    ...is a federal voting standard.  I don't see the point of letting states decide who gets to vote in federal elections. Being able to vote for your leaders is a basic right that everyone should have.

  •  Gotta keep those poor people from voting (6+ / 0-)

    Otherwise they might vote to reform the prison-industrial complex and all those sweet, sweet campaign donations.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:13:38 AM PST

  •  Holder just wants this so all the bankers' he's (0+ / 0-)

    put  behind bars can get their right to vote back. Oh wait, I forgot the one thing that Holder NEVER wants to be seen to do is charge a banker with a crime.

  •  Can someone explain why we take voting rights (7+ / 0-)

    away in the first place? I'm serious, what prompted this whole thing of ex-convicts being prevented from voting? I surely didn't learn this in school.

    •  Jim Crow (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, mattc129, a2nite

      In addition to the obvious (proportionally more blacks convicted of felonies), it was also easier for a white to get the right back by contacting his buddies in the government.

      Or so I assume. Someone correct me if it's actually something else.

      warning: snark probably above

      by NE2 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:52:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why? (7+ / 0-)

      racism...

      In 2008 over 5.3 million people in the United States were denied the right to vote because of felony disfranchisement.[5] Approximately thirteen percent of the United States' population is African American, yet African Americans make up thirty-eight percent of the prison population.[2] Slightly more than fifteen percent of the United States population is Hispanic, while twenty percent of the prison population is Hispanic.[2] People who are felons are disproportionately people of color.[1][2] In the United States, felon disfranchisement laws disproportionately affect communities of color as "they are disproportionately arrested, convicted, and subsequently denied the right to vote".[1] Research has shown that as much as 10 percent of the population in some minority communities in the USA is unable to vote, as a result of felon disfranchisement
      protecting the 'status quo' - people convicted of felony drug crimes cannot turn around and vote people out of office who support those said laws. The people the laws actually affect and with deep knowledge of flaws in the system might actually be able to hold people accountable.

      It is all based on some iffy wording that some white guys somewhere used to benefit themselves, as they tend to do:

      Unlike most laws that burden the right of citizens to vote based on some form of social status, felony disenfranchisement laws have been held to be constitutional. In Richardson v. Ramirez (date), the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of felon disfranchisement statutes, finding that the practice did not deny equal protection to disfranchised voters. The Court looked to Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which proclaims that States which deny the vote to male citizens, except on the basis of "participation of rebellion, or other crime", will suffer a reduction in representation. Based on this language, the Court found that this amounted to an "affirmative sanction" of the practice of felon disfranchisement, and the 14th Amendment could not prohibit in one section that which is expressly authorized in another.

      "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

      by LieparDestin on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:59:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if the Census rule about counting (6+ / 0-)

    prisoners where they are in prison, rather than where they lived, could be changed with an executive order from the President?

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:39:49 AM PST

  •  This is very important. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, BelgianBastard

    It's very unchristian to deny a person full restitution of rights after he/she has paid his debt to society.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:19:39 AM PST

  •  Taking away voting rights in the first place. (5+ / 0-)

    Is something that bothers me. I think voting is a basic right.

    •  yes but so is freedom (0+ / 0-)

      and we take that away, eg for robbers.

      If you are in society then you have certain rights - but if you break society's rules in a bad way, and you have a proper trial, then you lose those rights for a given period of time - which you are told about.

      When that time is over, then you get your rights back.

      And I don't see any way of saying that person X is beyond the pale and has no rights, even after time is served - too easy for this to be abused.  

    •  all the other basic rights (0+ / 0-)

      are taken away as soon as you are convicted of a felony. It's nothing unusual nor wrong. The question is about restoring those rights after all the other rights are restored.

      •  Not ALL basic rights are taken away (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmafarmer, cjtjc, BelgianBastard

        Look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. A great number of those rights apply in prison as much as anywhere else. As just a few examples (there are others), see Articles 4-7:

        Article 4.
        • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

        Article 5.

        • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

        Article 6.

        • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

        Article 7.

        • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:56:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  PIC mathematics & the politics of it too (4+ / 0-)
    Using a procedure called the “usual residence rule,” the Census Bureau counts prisoners as residents of the district in which they are incarcerated.
     The result is often artificially inflated population totals in rural, majority white communities at the expense of the (largely minority) communities the inmates ordinarily would call home.
    [...]
     so the inmates quite literally increase the value of prison communities without reaping any of the benefits, while leaving their families and neighbors underrepresented.
    Prison industrial complex mathematics with the politics of disproportionate targeting of blacks for marijuana laws

    "3/5ths" compromise; Yep, "taxation without representation" is a key chapter in the republican playbook - they've more than proven that

    So this is really good news happening
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    also too (& OT): Senator Maria Cantwell has written the commissioner of NFL about racial slurs. She was none too happy about the latest pre-super bowl story charade that the Washington football team name was "honoring Native Americans" and wrote a letter (February 10, 2014) - I just posted a Diary on it
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thx MB - good news

  •  No taxation without representation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BelgianBastard

    Unless felons are getting to skip paying taxes, I don't see how anyone can be okay with denying voting rights to citizens.  

  •  prisoners should vote (3+ / 0-)

    Why disenfranchise anyone?  Prisoners are affected by public policy and should have a voice in selecting the people who make those policies.  It is cruel and unusual punishment to take away the vote from people in prison or who have been in prison.  It's just another Jim Crow device because it disproportionately affects people of color.  

  •  I'm torn on this one (0+ / 0-)

    On one hand you either pay your debt and return to society  or you don't - there's no half-ass  here.

    On the other hand there are some white collar criminals who I think should never be allowed to vote again at any level.

  •  Thank you for this MB (0+ / 0-)

    I found an interesting site here that actually shows statistics on voter eligibility. Here is the direct link to the 2012 General Election data which breaks down how many felons are ineligible to vote per state and overall. It's quite the eye-opener, and generally debunks the idea that voter turnout is really low.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 06:55:24 PM PST

  •  Bravo (0+ / 0-)

    It's about time someone made a case for doing away with these absurd laws.  Now if we can only get some banksters jailed for their role in the global financial collapse, we'll really be making progress.

  •  No question about it, most (0+ / 0-)

    felons would vote Democratic.  For this reason alone, all felons, incarcerated or not, should be allowed to vote.  Think of how many more Democratic votes that we might have!

  •  YAYAYAY!!! (0+ / 0-)

    The dream knows no frontier or tongue,/ The dream no class or race. Langston Hughes

    by parse this on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 07:18:15 PM PST

  •  Emphasis required (0+ / 0-)
    If the goal of temporary incarceration is rehabilitation, as is supposedly the case..
    I think maybe "rehabilitation" was replaced with "punishment" around the Reagan era.

    It would be a great strategy if taken to extremes. Make things that the poor are forced to do on a daily basis "felonies" and elections are no longer an issue.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:03:42 PM PST

  •  It's a fine line. Voting is easy, other rights (0+ / 0-)

    not so much.

    You've paid your debt served your sentence, but can you ever be allowed to own a firearm?

    If you were a child sex offender, can you ever be allowed near children? Your own, other peoples?

    Medical licenses? Law licenses? Driving license? And offenses that had abused those?

    Voting is the easiest, no taxation without representation. Fine you can't vote but you then have to be granted exemption from all taxation, right?

  •  Gobaly gook (0+ / 0-)

    States are allowed to have whatever voter requirements they want.

    Minus a few constitutionally specified traits.

    Our legal system concerning what should be considered a crime is all messed.

    But conceptually it seems rather reasonable that true criminals / felons should not be allowed to vote.

    On the list of criminals, children, and the mentally insane. Criminals are the ones I would least want voting.  

  •  It seems to me that when a person serves his/her (0+ / 0-)

    time, their debt to society is paid.  Part of the problem of recidivism is that once a felon not only are your rights as a citizen of your country denied by disallowing you to vote, but finding work is almost impossible.  

    How can we expect rehabilitation to take place if a convicted felon serves time but comes out to a hostile society.

  •  Same with Jury Duty. (0+ / 0-)

    Sure, we all need to serve when Jury Duty calls.
    For me it always seems to pop up when my job is in crisis, and I am on a slammed schedule.  I postpone, then postpone again, and then I serve on Jury Duty.  

    A co worker of mine was arrested in the 1970's for pot, and at the time it was a felony.  He never get's his notice for Jury Duty.  

    Just sayin.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 04:50:13 AM PST

  •  no, let them vote no matter what (0+ / 0-)

    We need to have a good, hard think about what it is we're really trying to accomplish when we deny criminals the right to vote, whether or not they're in prison and whether or not they've served their sentence.
    The idea that it's punishment is laughable. How would not being allowed to vote be seen as punishment by some honest to goodness sociopath? Seriously?
    Or is it because we're afraid of the outcome of allowing criminals to vote? Are we worried they're going to vote as a bloc? Again, laughable.
    Finally, this. Look, we go through life surrounded by people who disagree with us. A baffling phenomenon, to be sure. I can't speak for everyone, but I tend to explain it away by identifying the people who don't agree with me as either intellectually deficient (stupid), mentally deficient (crazy) or morally deficient. I suspect this is a normal reaction to "people not thinking as I do." For a very long time in our country we kept people from voting that society identified (erroneously) as falling into one of the first two categories. We did this by keeping slaves, women, the poor, and the illiterate away from the polls. You really don't have to dig too deep to find people who would like to turn the clock back on some of these.
    A democracy in which we go to great lengths to come up with these proxies to disenfranchise precisely those who are most likely to disagree with us according to some crude heuristic is no democracy at all.
    Let's fix this!

  •  Non-violent crimes, I'm all for it (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not so comfortable with giving violent criminals, people convicted of things like rape and murder any power over anyone else given that they have already demonstrated the propensity for abusing power to harm others.

    "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

    by DarthMeow504 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 01:15:52 PM PST

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