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Discussion in 'News' started by KING BLING, Oct 12, 2004.


    KING BLING Guest

    I hate that felons can't vote. I'm not one, but the idea that people should be punished indefinately for a crime goes against the principle of reform and also the constitution as a whole...this is an interesting read quoted out in the ch.0 land too...

    Why Can't Ex-Felons Vote?

    By Kevin Krajick
    Wednesday, August 18, 2004; Page A19

    On Election Day it will not matter to some 4.7 million Americans whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents or whether they have an opinion on anything at all. Under various state laws, they are barred from voting because they have felony records. This includes not just prison inmates (48 states), parolees (33 states) and probationers (29 states) but also a large number of people -- one third of the disenfranchised in all -- who are off parole and "free." Minorities are hit particularly hard by these state laws: They deny 13 percent of African American men the vote.

    Incarceration in America is up 600 percent since 1974, and the absence of this fast-growing shadow population has been altering the nation's politics.

    The 14th Amendment permits states to deny the vote "for participation in rebellion, or other crime." And it can be argued that prisoners should not vote; after all, the purpose of prison is to deny freedom. But with ex-cons, the argument shifts.

    Some say those who break the law lack the trustworthiness to make it. Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation argues that felons might form some kind of "anti-law-enforcement bloc" and elect bad officials. But last year Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors stated a bald truth: "As frank as I can be," he said, "we're opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don't tend to vote Republican." He is right: People with low incomes, low education or minority status -- all benchmarks of convict populations -- vote Democratic 65 to 90 percent of the time.

    Another bald fact: Many disenfranchisement laws trace to the mid-1800s, when they were crafted to bar blacks with even minor criminal records from polls. Today this poisonous legal lineage tells not only in the South, which retains the most repressive statutes, but in states such as New York, where ex-parolees theoretically get their rights back but in reality encounter local election officials who demand discharge papers that don't exist, give misleading information and find other reasons to turn them away. A class-action lawsuit in New York charges that this system bars so many voters in high-crime neighborhoods that the districts effectively have lost their voice. In Florida, where many felons are barred forever unless the governor personally decides otherwise, 8 percent of adults cannot vote -- including one in four black men.

    These numbers may matter only in close elections -- but those do happen. According to one convincing study done at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, George W. Bush would have lost Florida by 80,000 votes in 2000 had ex-felons been allowed to vote -- even assuming most of would not have bothered to vote and a third would have voted Republican. The same study finds that since 1978, seven Republican senators would have lost close elections -- meaning that if everyone were allowed to vote, Democrats would now probably control the Senate. But Democrats, too, have turned their backs on this population. They have failed to stand up for restoration of rights because they're afraid Republicans will reflexively play the "soft on crime" card.

    To condemn millions to eternal political silence is to stab our democracy in the heart, and to provide cause for bitterness and alienation. Felons may face many other disabilities: They cannot sit on juries, serve as teachers, firefighters or -- often -- even barbers or plumbers. They cannot receive food stamps or live in public housing. Add to all this the knowledge that whatever they do, no matter how much they have changed, their voices will never be heard in the public arena.

    Does this sound like a prescription for more crime? It certainly undermines a basic tenet of our system of justice: that the weight of punishment is tempered with the hope of rehabilitation. And it prevents us from having a real electorate. (That "anti-law enforcement bloc" notwithstanding, we've managed very nicely to elect plenty of criminals to office without any help from ex-felons).

    Most people know this is wrong. Eighty percent responding to a July 2002 Harris poll said ex-felons should have their rights restored automatically; 60 percent would include current parolees, too.

    Voting is not a privilege; it is the basic right that defines a citizen. Those denied it are, in effect, stateless -- people without a country. This is not a partisan issue, but one of basic human rights. People who have paid their debt to society should have their rights restored.
  2. Hippopotamus

    Hippopotamus Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 10, 2004 Messages: 118 Likes Received: 0
  3. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    This sums up the entire debate from the right's perspective. The last sentence in the article is perfect - voting is a right of living in a democratic nation, not something that should be taken away as a means to "prevent crime."
  4. Hippopotamus

    Hippopotamus Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 10, 2004 Messages: 118 Likes Received: 0
    ^^^ you might make a pretty good lawyer after all.
  5. porque

    porque Senior Member

    Joined: May 5, 2002 Messages: 1,844 Likes Received: 0
    ...this is really fucked up when you think about how easy it easy to get convivted of a felony in some of these southern states...a felony in one state is only a missdeamoner in others...and a lot of felony convictions are drug related, whch raises completely different issues...seperating these citizens from society doesn't solve anything...
  6. ClueTwo

    ClueTwo Veteran Member

    Joined: Nov 30, 2001 Messages: 9,030 Likes Received: 123
    This is an extremely tough issue ecspecially for people like myself. Politics as a whole has given me new insight to the whole world and my daily life. It's retarded for someone like myself not to vote, but as PMB said it's probably because more people in my same shoes would vote towards the left.

    Sore subject and I'm working my ass off to get my felonies expunged from my record . Which seems to be an easy task given my succesful completion of probation and it's terms and the fairly low level of my convictions.

    I don't think some of the people on here even understand the overwhelming discrimination felons face. Did you know they report all felonies to 2/3 credit reporting agencies? This makes it possible for just about anyone in the business world to view your criminal history. i.e getting an apartment, getting a job, credit card, bank account, cell phone, etc.. Believe me the list is longer than my arm is size 2 font.

    At the smae time I struggle on the quote, "You do the crime, you do the time." Jail is only one interpretation for that sentence and the rest is left to your imagination......
  7. Grimes

    Grimes Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004 Messages: 5,161 Likes Received: 195
    i got busted for graff this time last year,slapped me with a felony and now shits fucked up,although i could care less about bush and kerry,but i would like to be able to vote in the future,o well...this is the life i chose so i guess it is what it is
  8. ledzep

    ledzep Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 21, 2002 Messages: 146 Likes Received: 1
    I think felons should be allowed to vote, its not a true democracy unless everyone gets to express thier opinions. Also I think that felons would probably vote for conditions which would demote crime because they probably dont want to live a life of crime if they can avoid it. You cant isolate groups like that, beacuse it affects the true direction the country wants to move in. I can understand in certain cases (maybe if the guy is like a mass murderer or something), but i think that for the most part felons should be allowed to vote.
  9. ClueTwo

    ClueTwo Veteran Member

    Joined: Nov 30, 2001 Messages: 9,030 Likes Received: 123
    **ATTN: Grimeylife.

    It is not your only option and that is a sore ass way to think of things..

    You said you got busted for graffiti which is probably Criminal Damage and at the most a Class 6 undesignated Felony..That is my best guess anyway without any further details. Anyway, the point is that you can more than likely have that felony record expunged or reduced to a misdemeanor given the laws in your state. It's obviously worth looking into given the chance you may want to leave the country, vote, or own a firearm anytime in the rest of your life.

    I choose to fight........
  10. hottnickels

    hottnickels Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 25, 2003 Messages: 178 Likes Received: 0
    guilty until proven innocent
    and a debt to society that can never be repaid.
  11. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    It was my understanding that felons could vote in some states. I guess I was wrong. This law does suck, I've known so many people who have been railroaded into felonies. I myself was almost charged with a felony once because a cop claimed that I hit him because he pepper sprayed me and it would have looked bad for him. The only thing that happened was some cop shaking his blackjack and yelling at me that he was going to hurt me. If they have paid their debt, they should be able to vote.
  12. hottnickels

    hottnickels Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 25, 2003 Messages: 178 Likes Received: 0
    it's true that it differs from state to state.
    a lot of states don't allow it.
    and recently a mailing was sent out in Ohio informing felons that they could not vote, although that is not true.
  13. SteveAustin

    SteveAustin Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 12, 2002 Messages: 7,042 Likes Received: 2
    I just found this here

    so yeah...some states are moving to reinstate their rights.

    Check this out...from the same link:

    just found this.
    'Maine, Massachusetts, Utah and Vermont are the only states that allow incarcerated convicted felons to vote.'
  14. Grimes

    Grimes Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 11, 2004 Messages: 5,161 Likes Received: 195
    oh most definately,i already plan on getting it expunged off my record,but im pretty sure i still wont be able to vote,i dont know,im not all that familiar with the voting laws we have here in louisiana,but thanks for lookin out,....and it was criminal property damage