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Posted at 10:46 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

The GOP's war on voting

By Adam Serwer

In 2007, then-Republican governor of Florida Charlie Crist moved to restore voting rights to ex-felons in the state. It was an unusual move for a Republican, since the GOP generally supports felony disenfranchisement laws because they disproportionately affect blacks who tend to vote for Democrats.

As Peter Wallsten writes this morning, as a result of the new rules, 154,000 people since 2007 have had their voting rights restored, compared to around 8,000 per year in the time prior. Naturally, Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) are moving to make it harder for the formerly incarcerated to vote again:

Bondi had not revealed her specific proposal publicly by late Tuesday. Her office said the plan would likely eliminate the near-automatic restoration of rights, pushed by Crist for most ex-offenders. Bondi wants to add a waiting period of up to five years after a felon serves his or her sentence before rights can be restored.

Let's be clear about who is affected by this. According to the Brennan Center, a quarter of those disenfranchised by such laws in Florida are black. Florida's original felony disenfranchisement law was enacted during Reconstruction, as an effort to limit the political power of newly freed blacks.

Felony disenfranchisement laws serve no civic purpose -- no one ever stopped themselves from committing a crime simply because they might lose the right to vote. The formerly incarcerated have served their time, the argument for punishing them post-release by denying them the right to vote is pure politics masquerading as tough-on-crime moral uprightness. Florida Republicans are moving to restrict the voting power of a Democratic constituency in a presidential swing state, nothing more, nothing less.

This is happening all over the country. Newly empowered Republican legislatures have been imposing onerous voter ID laws in at least 32 states, even though in-person voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. Texas went as far as exempting concealed carry permit holders and people born before 1931 from its voter ID law, a transparent admission that such laws can needlessly disenfranchise voters and that the intent of the law was to disenfranchise likely Democratic constituencies. New Hampshire Republicans are trying to ban many college students from voting because they "vote as liberal." These days, the most important battles over access to the ballot box don't happen on election day, and they don't involve dramatic examples of flagrant voter intimidation. They happen in state legislatures, around the basic rules for how to show up and vote on election day.

This is something to consider when Republicans treat the New Black Panther voter intimidation case as an outrage. Not a single voter has said they were intimidated in that case, but Republican legislatures all over the country are actively pursuing policies that could disenfranchise thousands of people because they are more likely to vote for the other side. This also helps explain conservative hostility to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in general -- the last thing Republicans want is the federal government intervening to protect the franchise when the GOP is busy trying to restrict it to their own constituencies.

By Adam Serwer  | March 9, 2011; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?

Posted by: shrink2 | March 9, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Do Republicans limit people who can vote because their policies are unpopular?

Yup.

Soon they'll have it fixed so that only the rich and powerful can vote.

Check out what they are doing in Michigan! They have a bill that will strip elected local governments and replace them with private corporations that will take care of the city for them.

Uh, repubs? That's called fascism. No, really. Look it up!

Posted by: Alex3 | March 9, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

REPOST

"I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?"

Um, yes, that's possible. Couple older white people dying off with with the growing number of young voters of ethnic backgrounds, and the GOP is sailing into rough waters if they can't figure out how to broaden their appeal.

(Voto Latino expects 1.5 million new Hispanic voters in 2012, mostly young people. )

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 9, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Why don't the Republicans just cut to the chase, and allow only The Koch Brothers to vote. After all The Gang Of Five Right Wing Supreme Court Activists, have already ruled that The Super Rich are allowed to purchase election results.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Alex3: "Check out what they are doing in Michigan! They have a bill that will strip elected local governments and replace them with private corporations that will take care of the city for them. "

Yeah, this is got a lot of people upset here. I wonder about the constitutionality, and think it will face a court challenge.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 9, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

People,

Do not repost. The site is taking a long time to post, after it appears to have accepted your comments. My posts have taken a few minutes to show up, after they have being accepted.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

""I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?""

See the Roe Effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_effect

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 9, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?"

I think this argument has some merit to it, as sue points out there's the new Hispanic voters. but there's also been research into the liberal baby or fertility gap -- namely that progressives have fewer (or any) kids than conservatives. I've seen this anecdotally among friends. more than one progressive couple is childless-by-choice. the conservatives I know have 2 (at least) kids.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@Alex3: "Soon they'll have it fixed so that only the rich and powerful can vote."

And almost exclusively white.

What we are experiencing from the right is nothing short of an attempt at the ethnic cleansing of voting rights in America.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 9, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this is got a lot of people upset here. I wonder about the constitutionality, and think it will face a court challenge.
----------------------------------

I particularly liked that Republicans wouldn't even limit the salary ot these "executives" to the salary of the governor. Well, that's sort of true, at first a few voted to limit the salaray, then they duped the democrats into holding another vote and voted against the limit. I believe Republcians largely lampoon Obama for his "Czars", I'm not sure what the difference is here.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

OT:

GOP freely acknowledges that their austerity cuts to social programs won't add a single job and will result in significant job LOSSES...

Because, after all, that WAS their intent!

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/republicans-struggle-to-square-spending-cuts-with-job-losses.php

GOP in 2010: "We're all about jobs"

GOP in 2011: "We're all about cutting social programs"

CBO in 2011: "Cutting social programs kills almost 1 million jobs"

Dems in 2011: "Cutting social programs kills almost 1 million jobs, I thought you said you were all about jobs?"

GOP in 2011: "Yeah, we're all about jobs... getting RID of jobs... oh wait, did we leave that part out? oops."

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 9, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives having more kids, does not mean that those kids will end up voting for Conservatives. Some will, but it is not unusual for kids to end up holding different political views, than their parents.

I think it silly to try and make such projections.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it amazing how republicans spout off about loving the Constitution and freedom so much, yet once they get into power, they spend their entire time breaking the law and trying to take freedom away?

Posted by: losthorizon10 | March 9, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

[shrink2 spat: "are Republicans dying faster than they are being created?"]

Nope. Democrats abort their own progeny.

The most fecund Republicans are in heavily Mormon Utah, which (not coincidentally) was the only state where Bush received over 70%. Compare with low birth rate Washington, D.C. where Bush earned but 9 percent.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Some will, but it is not unusual for kids to end up holding different political views"

I tend to agree with that. but i also think support for one party or the other is more cultural than ideological, particularly among those who aren't interested in politics.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Must be their magic underwear that supercharges their sperm.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

It's a standard theme. Pick a generic voting issue that just happens to fall on voter blocks that vote blue. No such moves in the '80s, because students voted for Ronnie.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 9, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

One other effort that Republicans in various southern states have been trying to opt out of the requirements of the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Opting out will allow states that are still under the VRA to devise new mechanisms to keep non-Republican voters from the polls.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31487579/ns/politics-white_house/

http://www.nomorestolenelections.org/news/ajc_town_opt_out_voting_rights_act_draws_rebuke

Posted by: c_attucks | March 9, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Good news out of the liberal (and frequently reversed) Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — an en banc panel upheld Washington State’s felon-disenfranchisement law and backtracked from a badly decided earlier opinion (Farrakhan v. Gregoire).

Attorney General Rob McKenna won this case on October 7, 2010 in a unaminous ruling with a concurring opinion, that upheld the constitutionality of Washington's felon voting ban and rejected an earlier ruling that applied the federal Voting Rights Act to Washington’s felon disenfranchisement law.

Washington’s current felon voting law continues to be in effect and felons who are either in prison or on community custody with the Department of Corrections remain ineligible to vote.

*Fry Mumia*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Looks like liberals are out protecting their base this morning, felons, illegal aliens and illegal voters that vote in a state where they are not registered.

Do you libtards have any legal voters?

Posted by: robtr | March 9, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

losthorizon10 drooled: "Isn't it amazing how republicans spout off about loving the Constitution"]

Yes it is wonderful... which is why they defend the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment specifically gives states the right to abridge the right to vote "for participation in rebellion, or other crime." Four federal circuit courts of appeal, including the 11th, 9th, 2nd, and 1st, have thrown out Voting Rights Act claims brought by liberal advocacy groups because of that constitutional authority and the legislative history of the VRA-- which makes it pretty clear that it wasn’t intended to apply to such felon laws.

*Fry Mumia*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

How about Democrats pushing to restrict voting by retards, hypocrites, imbeciles and illiterates?
Boy! That will restrict the election of right-wing Republicans.

Posted by: analyst72 | March 9, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"More than half of California's children are now of Hispanic origin, according to the US Census Bureau. The latest data from the 2010 census shows that Latinos and Asians accounted for most of the population growth in California over the past decade. The number of Hispanics rose 28% to 14 million, reaching near parity with non-Hispanic whites."

Republican nightmare.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 9, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to disenfranchise felons: Those who don't follow the laws should not automatically get to make the laws for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote should be restored carefully, on a case-by-case basis. See our website: http://www.ceousa.org/content/blogcategory/64/93/ Ms. Bondi is right; Crist was wrong.

Posted by: rclegg1 | March 9, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Another article on GOP's assault on voting, with some more coverage of the NH GOP's attempts to squash college age voters' rights:

-Ahead of the 2012 campaign, states debate voting rights-

In New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing to end rules that allow same-day voter registration in the state, which has often provided key swing votes for candidates from all parties in the state. State GOP lawmakers are also proposing new limits on students, including a bill that would allow them to vote in college towns only if they or their parents had established permanent residency in the state.

...

"It's a war on voting," Thomas Bates, vice president of Rock the Vote, a youth voter-registration group, told the Post. "We'd like to be advocating for a 21st-century voting system, but here we are fighting against efforts to turn it back to the 19th century."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20110308/ts_yblog_theticket/ahead-of-the-2012-campaign-states-debate-voting-rights

Unions = fired up
College students = fired up
African-Americans = fired up
Latinos = fired up
Women = fired up

I'd wager that middle class Americans of all sorts are also more fired up than ever in seeing their retirement portfolios increase in value due to the rise in the stock market... and in seeing what the GOP has had to offer at both the state and federal levels.

All good signs for the Dems, especially this far in advance of 2012.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 9, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?"

One can only hope. Actually the demographic change in this country doesn't auger well for the GOP, or the Right in general. Rove and company know it.
They have a three pronged rear guard action -
first it was the Citizen's United decision, currently it's the attempt to break the back of public sector unions, and corresponding with that are these onerous voter ID laws. Look for some very strange gerrymandering going on as well, which I suspect will be challenged in a number of states.

Posted by: filmnoia | March 9, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Some will, but it http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/economyunemployment/is not unusual for kids to end up holding different political views"

I tend to agree with that. but i also think support for one party or the other is more cultural than ideological, particularly among those who aren't interested in politics.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 11:26 AM

................

Kids love to rebel against their parents. One of Madeline Murray O'Hare's kids became a Jesuit priest.

The poor distraught mother could not even pray to anything to save her wayward boy. I made myself laugh just now, when I came up with that one.

But in all seriousness; The internet and social media will probably change everything for most of the upcoming generation. Look at how it has changed how young people organized in Egypt. Before tools such as twitter and facebook were available, the regime would have been able to easily keep their young population uninformed and unorganized.

I expect that young Americans will also follow that same path.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Scott: See the Roe Effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_effect
----

Hmmm...quite a conundrum for the GOP. Fight abortion rights and increase Dem voters...or give in and limit them.....

Which way would you go?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 9, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it generally beleived that people get more conservative as they get older? So I'm skeptical of any claims of generational shifts. Not to mention that the positions of the parties shift as time goes on. It really makes the entire discussion so speculative that it seems to have relatively little value. Which begs the question: why did I just type all this stuff?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes filmnoia, that was the point of that rhetorical question up top.

Everyone knows they are dying faster than they are being created, simply because younger people and non-white people are less likely to be Republican. So the party of the rich will have to take...certain measures...or it will be doomed.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 9, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Again to continue my whining from Florida...
and Shrink you can stop rubbing it in about Oregon...we are already envious enough thank you...

You should realize what kind of tools the tea baggers elected. Pam Bondi our AG and the person behind this push to disenfranchise our felons is a true piece of work...she fits right in with Ann Coulter, Sister Sarah and the rest.

In a story that will warm the cockles of the hearts of Scott and Q.B. in typical Republican heartlessness...let's take advantage of a family that has just survived Katrina and add to that disaster by stealing their dog...ohhh this is such a REPUBLICAN story...

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/as-bondi-runs-for-attorney-general-bitterness-over-dog-lingers/1119393

"In the 2005 Katrina aftermath, the Pinellas County Humane Society rescued hundreds of dogs, including the Coutures' dog, Master Tank. They thought he would be returned.

But Bondi adopted the dog from the Humane Society days after her own St. Bernard died of cancer. She named her new dog Noah.

In January 2006, the Coutures traced Master Tank to the Tampa Bay area. Bondi didn't want to give up the dog, arguing that it had heartworms and other health problems that were ignored before Katrina.

The Coutures sued, and a trial date was set before Bondi finally agreed to settle the case."

And some of you wonder why we ask if conservatives are truly heartless?

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 9, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

[Liam gargled: "Must be their magic underwear that supercharges their sperm."]

It's official. Log cabin Republicans pass Liam's taste test.

So, is Liam the Washington Blade whine expurt?

*super*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

[analyst72 drooled: "How about Democrats pushing to restrict voting by retards, hypocrites, imbeciles and illiterates?"]

Congrats, Adam, for managing to sneer at Republicans without mocking mentally disabled folks. That makes Adam slightly more classy than analyst72, Barry "Short Bus" Obama or his "F'n retard" former Chief of Staff to discuss politics.

*stay classy*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Republicans wonder why some accuse them of racism. When you re-enact laws that were enacted to keep freed slaves from voting I think it's hard for people to see you as anything other than racist.

How many people bother to vote in this country and to tell those who want to participate in the process "sorry you can't" doesn't leave much doubt about motives.

Posted by: rlj1 | March 9, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

So Bilgeman/Kaddafi reveals that he is A Log Cabin Republican. Now all his rants make sense. He is full of self loathing.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

*Fry Mumia*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what sort of proof of this contention Mr Sargent can offer:
=================
since the GOP generally supports felony disenfranchisement laws because they disproportionately affect blacks who tend to vote for Democrats.
====================

Proof is important when one moves into the minefield of motive attribution.

Given the fact that the left has used its magical incantation "racist!" to stifle all manner of talk in America it seems that, absent some hard evidence, Mr Sargent is just showing us his bad habits.

so I'll eagerly await proof of this from our gracious host.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 9, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

OT to Ashot:

Did you see the clip from Rachel Maddow last night about Michigan's Emergency Manager BS? If not, you can see it here:

http://bloggingformichigan.com/diary/6340/rally-photos-michigan-gop-pulling-a-stealthwalker-move-to-damage-unions

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 9, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

So Bilgeman/Kaddafi reveals that he is A Log Cabin Republican. Now all his rants make sense. He is full of self loathing.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"The internet and social media will probably change everything for most of the upcoming generation."

This is a very good point. older models on voter attitudes and the like didn't have to factor this in.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Liam parades his preference for logcabin Republicans, then pretends others share his bad taste?

*Delicious Mr. Masoch?*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

""the liberal baby or fertility gap -- namely that progressives have fewer (or any) kids than conservatives""

As if that makes a difference. Most of the lefties I know were raised in conservative (if not VERY conservative) households.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | March 9, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

How about Democrats pushing to restrict voting by retards, hypocrites, imbeciles and illiterates?
Boy! That will restrict the election of right-wing Republicans.

Posted by: analyst72 | March 9, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

==

GREATEST. POST. EVER.

Posted by: Mountaineer87 | March 9, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Self out Log Cabin Republican; Bilgeman/Kadaffi's self loathing can be treated. After all Ted Haggart finally had to learn to accept who he really was, and he used to spout the same self loathing type of rants that Bilgeman currently does. He also appears to be fueling his rants, with heavy Meth hits.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Sue- Thanks for that. I really liked Senator Whitmers's "Go ahead and gavel me" comment.

I also found this blurb in your link to raise an interesting point "Rick Snyder and other backers of the bills say they're needed to deal with what could be a glut of insolvent cities and school districts hard hit by falling tax revenues and even Snyder's own plans to cut their state aid."

Cutting aid to cities/counties then "rescuing" them through the appointement of non-elected officials who are allowed to overrule elected officials is one heck of a political move.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

[rlj1 sputtered: "When you re-enact laws that were enacted to keep freed slaves from voting I think it's hard for people to see you as anything other than racist."]

*yikes!* The soft bigotry of low expectations rears its ugly head again.

What is it about Leftists that makes them imagine (out loud) that "freed slaves" (WTF?) are predisposed to commit felonies.

*GAZE*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Teabaggers are certainly dying off faster than they are being created.

+1 for America to have these vile, ignorant bigots become extinct.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 9, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

[Liam gargled: "Must be their magic underwear that supercharges their sperm."]

Don't be afraid of your feelings, Liam.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It's a proven fact that the bigger the turnout, the WORSE it is for Republicans.

Republicans heart disenfranchisement and bad weather.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 9, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Self outed Log Cabin Republican; Bilgeman/Kadaffi's self loathing can be treated. After all Ted Haggart finally had to learn to accept who he really was, and he used to spout the same self loathing type of rants that Bilgeman currently does. He also appears to be fueling his rants, with heavy Meth hits.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

*FRY MUMIA*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 9, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

shrink -- thx for the update on the earlier thread.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

When Bilgeman met Larry Craig in the Airport men's room, the toe tapping noise was louder than a River Dance show.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess if you can't convince someone to vote for you, just prevent them from voting.

Posted by: jmichaelharris1959 | March 9, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Republicans Claim we are not a Democracy
but a Representative Government..

Their representation means the RICH aer in Charge
and
We the People...well we are just the SLAVES..

Posted by: RealConservativesPayTaxes | March 9, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that what has the left most upset is the fact that their political opponents are playing by the left's rules.

On an earlier thread one commenter complained that the Republicans were using redistricting and other tools to gain advantages in elections.

No kidding? Really? Aren't we supposed to? Isn't that exactly what the Democrats do in their turn?

but Mr Sargent is clinging to a mighty thin reed here. He's made an assertion that Republicans are racists and that they have painted all felons, and all blacks with the same brush. The liberal commenters here simply support Mr Sargent's bigotry with their own version of "all conservative/Republicans/tea party members are..."

Must be a slow news day in Dc

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 9, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

What is being proposed in North Carolina is completely reasonable. Last month, I went on a business trip to Orlando. In order to board the airplane, I had to produce a valid picture ID. When i checked into the hotel, I had to produce a valid picture ID. After I returned, I went to an urgent care facility because of a cold. I had to produce a valid picture ID.

The only people inconvenienced by having to produce a picture ID to vote are the crooks from Acorn and Democrat union thugs.

Posted by: VastRightWingConspirator | March 9, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

All, great new polling on whether the public thinks Islam encourages violence:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/only_conservatives_and_tea_par.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 9, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Gitmo:

Has the US stopped sending new detainees there?

Posted by: Liam-still | March 9, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

We are awash with illegal aliens and Jornolist Sargent calls requirements for voters to present a photo id as an onerous new requirement. We have massive voter fraud in this country, usually perpetrated by Democrats and here we have another liberal demanding that felons should be able to vote an anyone should be able to walk off the street and vote without proving residence or citizenship. No wonder our country is in such deep trouble.

Posted by: jkk1943 | March 9, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

OT to all...

Please check out the end of the morning plum thread for a great post from a new poster Jed G. He makes some very compelling points about the current mess in Wisconsin.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 9, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Right on!
Just because folks commit a Felony (not a misdemeanor or minor traffic offense) and are convicted by a judge and jury of said crime(s), there's no reason they should have to pay a price or have rights they have no longer "earned" (as State or Federal laws may mandate), or may be entitled to taken away for any period of time.
All Humans should be exempt from having to do the time if they do the crime to avoid crossing any PC lines, eh?
Felons are not simply good people who accidently got caught, are they? They did bad things we deem to be seriously wrong. Or is that the PC mantra you're humming along to clouds your thinking? . Change the tune and realize that there was once a phrase "Crime and Punishment"... that guided societal norms in a pre-PC world that is rapidly slipping away.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | March 9, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Liam -- i don't think we are. i believe we just send them to other places.

"Gates said new detainees are not being sent to Guantanamo “at this point” and that the center is unlikely to close, at least for now."

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62876


Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@jkk

Not that you care, but the large % of posters on this blog actually have brains...this is not redstate or drudge.

The instant you put a "Jornolist" reference in your post we know instantly to write you off as a total wackjob! Just sayin'.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 9, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

sue:

""Which way would you go?""

The former.

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 9, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

""Everyone knows they are dying faster than they are being created, simply because younger people and non-white people are less likely to be Republican.""

On the other hand, young people don't stay young people. And old people are staying old people in bigger and bigger numbers every year.

""So the party of the rich...""

You should really look into which party "the rich" are donating their money to in bigger numbers. Really.

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 9, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

""In a story that will warm the cockles of the hearts of Scott and Q.B....""

I'd like to put in a word for McWing, if I could. I think he feels a bit unjustifiably left out of your obsession. He's just as heartless as qb and I, so maybe you could throw a shout-out to him next time. Just a suggestion.

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 9, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This oppression needs to be nipped in the bud.
Next they'll be saying you need to be a US citizen before you can vote, which would be an injustice to the undocumented population who are actually citizens, but only of the country they left behind when they made their journey North (or South if they're Canadians I suppose).
Without Charlie Rangel watching his back (and others) any longer, we're dependent on the Reverand Al Sharpton to speak out about this arcane interpretation of the Constitution and other US Laws.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | March 9, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Liar. Tell that spew to the democrat clowns in Wisconsin who run rather than represent.

Posted by: carlbatey | March 9, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

To the Democrat Party, "onerous ID requirements" means not being able to cram buses full of illegals, cases of Corona, and boxes full of dead peoples voter registartion cards in order to stop off at every polling place and rig elections in favor of Democrat candidates - Al Franken, anyone?

Posted by: ddaly7 | March 9, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Liar. Tell that spew to the democrat clowns in Wisconsin who run rather than represent.

Posted by: carlbatey | March 9, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Adam, for writing this post. As a disenfranchised felon who was rightfully convicted of a terrible crime, I am grateful to live in a state where my voting rights will be restored when I complete the probation portion of my sentence in 2014. As a professional working on criminal justice issues, I am also aware of extensive evidence demonstrating that individuals who vote are substantially less likely to re-offend than those individuals who do not vote, for whatever reason. People are more likely to re-commit to the social compact which they've violated if they feel they've been given a stake in determining the particulars of that compact through voting.

Just like the rest of the population, felons who don't care about their communities are unlikely to vote. Those who do care about the community, felon or not, should be permitted to contribute to the selection of leaders.

Limited disenfranchisement throughout an individual's sentence is a reasonable restriction on voting rights since convicted individuals serving sentences haven't "paid their debts to society" but completion of a criminal sentence should result in restoration of the convicted person to full citizenship.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Here in Wisconsin, the Republicans are moving to prevent college students from using state-issued, university picture IDs as identification. Absurd. Many students have out-of-state drivers licences, and given typical student finances, are not going to spend half a day and $58 getting an unnecessary in-state drivers license.

The Republican party has turned so mindlessly aggressive that they have lost their soul. They are engaged in crude voter-suppression activities that I thought our country left behind in the last century.

Posted by: HuckFinn | March 9, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"He's made an assertion that Republicans are racists and that they have painted all felons, and all blacks with the same brush."

While I don't speak for all liberals like you do skip, I don't think that race or any other characteristic is what people are seeing as important. Rather, it's the pereception that the targeted group votes for democrats that is important. That goes for both sides. Republicans wouldnt' be looking to restrict the votes and Democrats wouldn't care about the vote beign restricted if the parties didn't perceive a possible loss/gain in voters.

Curiously, I have yet to see a conservative here explain why former felons should not be allowed to vote. Just the usual "you started it" type response.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

dbs:

"Just because folks commit a Felony (not a misdemeanor or minor traffic offense) and are convicted by a judge and jury of said crime(s), there's no reason they should have to pay a price or have rights they have no longer "earned" (as State or Federal laws may mandate), or may be entitled to taken away for any period of time. "

What legitimate purpose is being served by preventing felons from voting? Voting is a right, so in order to take away that right from someone, you should have a good reason why this is important to do.

As the post states, there is no evidence or even logical plausibility to claim that anyone is deterred from crime over this. Nor that any victim feels better about the justice meted out to an offender over it.

Other than the partisan political advantage this provides to Republicans, what reason is there to do this?

There is none. It's just a way to exclude "bad" people from having a say in the society they live in.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that in 2000 Katherine Harris has a private contractor go and take the list of Florida felons and disenfranchise every registered voter who had a first/last name match to those people, despite having other information available to avoid false matches (like middle name/initial).

I think it is fair to say they deliberately allowed multiple false-positive matches to be disenfranchised. Better 10 innocent voters get disenfranchised than 1 felon gets to cast a ballot.

70,000 legitimate voters lost their right to vote because of that.

I'm sure it was all a great coincidence that most of them were black and would have voted for Al Gore.

This is the kind of abuse that disenfranchising felons allows, and actually I suspect for most conservatives, this abuse is a plus of such policies not a detriment. Democratic leaning voters aren't legitimate voters anyway.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

We have massive voter fraud in this country, usually perpetrated by Democrats
---------------------------------------
Any actual support for either of those claims?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sewer talks about the implementation of onerous ID laws. Sewer, since when is it onerous to expect a voter to show a drivers license or id to prove that you are the one voting. Thats not onerous, its just common sense, and only people who promote illegal activities at the poles would suggest otherwise. Sewer is at the bottom of the bottom feeding liberal progressive whiners.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | March 9, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse


The founders limited the franchise to men of property. That has been liberalized over the years to women, to men with nothing, to those who barely can be bothered to register. Now, some want scofflaws and non citizens to vote. Any attempt to limit the franchise to responsible people is seen as a Republican plot.

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 9, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Depressing as usual. The GOP doesn't want to take the chance that its policies might not appeal to voters. It wants to take out as many voters from ethnic groups that it doesn't view as GOP-friendly. How long before Florida tries bringing back literacy tests and the poll tax?

Posted by: tboyer33 | March 9, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

ash -- re: felons and voting, I think it's a simple as not want to appear soft on crime.

i think the bigger problem is the over-criminalization aspect.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | March 9, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

edbyron- Scofflaw? I like that. I had never heard that word and had to look it up. I think I will use it in the future. I would ask you if there is any point at which a person who has remained crime-free and perhaps contributed in meaningful ways to his or her community after completing a criminal sentence ceases to be a scofflaw?

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Teaparty Taliban:

If you can't beat 'em, disenfranchise 'em.

Posted by: areyousaying | March 9, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

>The formerly incarcerated have served their time, the argument for punishing them post-release by denying them the right to vote is pure politics masquerading as tough-on-crime moral uprightness.

That would also apply to those sex offender watch lists, would it not?

The moral argument - they served their time - only makes sense if they served the proper amount of time. Many criminals are released early for the sake of saving money.

Where I used to vote, you just had to walk in and state your name and address in order to vote. The poll worker would search for your name and cross it out in plain view of you, never asking for ID. So there was nothing to stop me from coming back later in the day to vote on behalf of my neighbor, or for roommates to vote on each others' behalf if one didn't feel like voting, etc.

ID rules are reasonable. So are government fees for IDs. Mexico can do it; why can't we?

Posted by: angrydoug1 | March 9, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Just finished making my "Thank you 14 Democrats" sign here in Wisconsin.

These Republicans at the state level, at least the governor are so corrupt with power (apparently from billionaires paying them) that they will try every trick in the book.

However, they can draw all the redistricting lines they want and make it hard for voters to vote, it doesn't matter.

They only represent their own extreme base. That's 20-30% at last glance.

Posted by: georgia198305 | March 9, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Scientician wrote: Other than the partisan political advantage this provides to Republicans, what reason is there to do this?
-----------------------------------------

Crimes have consequences. If you are a convicted felon you can also never own a gun. Now, does that make sense if the felony you were convicted of was a nonviolent crime? Nope. But, then again, crimes have consequences. You give up certain rights when you engage in criminal activity and just like in voting, I doubt if someone who embezzled money was thinking about their future gun rights?

Posted by: Marin823 | March 9, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think felons should be allowed to vote.

I don't care what color they are. Criminals aren't trustworthy and voting is an exercise of the public trust.

Your attempt to smear the people you think of as your enemies is pathetic.

Posted by: ZZim | March 9, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Angrydoug- The US is home to about 5% of the world's population and 25% of its inmates. I'd say we are doing an adequate job of holding people accountable for their actions. You are right though; some people are released before they have been appropriately rehabilitated. That is more an indictment on the corrections/justice system that it is a good justification to permanently exclude people who've completed their sentences.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice response Ashot. But go back and read Mr Sargent's claim. It is pure speculation. A speculation that is seconded by your fellow liberal commenters here.

I understand your point of view but I just don't buy it. The "logic" goes thus: Republicans hate Democrats. Blacks commit felonies and vote Democrat, therefore Republicans hate them.

does that make sense? Is there any actual proof? You know, someone in a position of authority in the Republican party, like oh say, Ken Blackwell, who has stood up and said: "We Republicans need to be honest about our hatred of African Americans".

Instead we see bigoted statements from the left, who get a pass. Perhaps you recall Howard Dean's famous speech to the staff at a DC Hotel?

We can argue about the propriety of allowing convicted felons who have served their sentence vote. But that is a different conversation from the one that Mr Sargent initiated.

I'm tired of the left's bigotry and I believe it will never end until some self realization enters the picture. What is more, wasn't it Mr Obama himself who asked for "civility"? How does Mr Sargent's bigotry, which is echoed strongly on the comments, comport with that request ashot?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 9, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"Sewer talks about the implementation of onerous ID laws. Sewer, since when is it onerous to expect a voter to show a drivers license or id to prove that you are the one voting. Thats not onerous, its just common sense"

Ah, privileged Republican voters who have no concept that other people actually have it rough in life. If you can't afford a car, you don't have a driver's license. If it costs anything to get some generic ID card and requires visiting some government office during work hours, many voters will find this too expensive.

Some people actually do miss the cost of an extra bus fare to make a special trip somewhere to get an ID card. Republicans love tacking fees onto every government service rather than just paying for obvious essential services out of tax revenue.

So, yes, it is onerous and that you can't imagine it being so only speaks to your lack of imagination.

If Republicans are so worried about an imaginary problem that only exists in their fevered minds, let's get some of those jars of purple ink from Iraq and Afghanistan and just ink every voter's index finger. No need to disenfranchise anyone.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that to conduct virtually any government service you have to prove who you are. To pay for something with other than cash, you frequently have to prove who you are. However, for one of the actions we do which is constitutionally critical, there are those who somehow think it is then onerous to have someone prove who they are when they vote. What an upside down world we live in.

Posted by: Marin823 | March 9, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28:

"I understand your point of view but I just don't buy it. The "logic" goes thus: Republicans hate Democrats. Blacks commit felonies and vote Democrat, therefore Republicans hate them."

You're ignoring the little detail that most felon disenfranchisement laws started in the south along with poll taxes, literacy tests and all the other fun stuff that was designed to keep blacks from voting.

They were racist to begin with so it's not a far leap to see how they're probably still racist. When you throw in that they serve no actual useful societal purpose, you start to look for the other reasons why conservatives would want such laws so badly.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

""let's get some of those jars of purple ink from Iraq and Afghanistan and just ink every voter's index finger.""

That's funny. We're all Muslims now. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | March 9, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The SCOTUs has upheld the constitutionality of felon disenfranchisement statutes, finding that the practice did not deny equal protection to disenfranchised voters.The Court looked to Section 2 of the 14th amend 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 disenfranchisement, and the 14th Amendment could not prohibit in one section that which is expressly authorized in another. That a state's felony disenfranchisement provision will violate Equal Protection if it can be demonstrated that the provision, as enacted, had "both [an] impermissible racial motivation and racially discriminatory impact." A felony disenfranchisement law, which on its face is indiscriminate in nature, cannot be invalidated by the Supreme Court unless its enforcement is proven to discriminate and it was enacted with discriminatory animus.

Yeah go ahead republicans and ignore the the ruling. Here is the thing, I guess all those white collar criminals and ex-senators are forbidden from voting once they leave prison, Tom delay you ahve been convicted and will be imprisoned and once you leave prison, you can no longer vote, Yeah republicans. GOP the party of idiots!!!

Posted by: Realistic5 | March 9, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Scientician brought up a good point about the 2000 Florida election which gets to a wider issue: the implementation of disenfranchisement laws can make the effects even more onerous than the actual language of the laws. One of the categories Florida used to create matches between the felon database and registered voters was race -- in other words a name match plus racial match was enough to lose the right to vote. Since felons are disproportionately black, the legitimate voters who were unable to vote were disproportionately black. Governor Jeb Bush also used such tricks as requiring felons to request having their rights restored through a personal letter to the governor, and disenfranchising felons whose voting rights had already been restored by the states where their crimes were committed -- despite having been told repeatedly by the courts to stop. These laws leave room for a whole lot of mischief, and deliberately so.

Posted by: rashomon | March 9, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm republican and I am against allowing felons the right to vote because they broke a social contract to not violate our nation's laws. I don't care who you are or what race you are, if you commit a felony you should not have the right to vote.

If you want to have a separate discussion about certain laws having the effect of targeting the poor or minorities, particularly drug offenses, good, that is an appropriate discussion to have.

But to use a blanket statement combining the fact that that a lot of laws are bad which leads to a disproportionate amount of minorities to be incarcerated and R's don't want felons to be allowed to vote to become that R's don't want minorities to vote is complete BS.

Turn the discussion to an appropriate avenue instead of trying to tar and feather the opposition with unfounded claims. Though maybe thinking things through and using a modicum of respect are things the author is incapable of doing.

Posted by: bayma1 | March 9, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

angrydoug- "So there was nothing to stop me from coming back later in the day to vote on behalf of my neighbor, or for roommates to vote on each others' behalf if one didn't feel like voting, etc."

Except, of course, laws against voter fraud. There's not much difference between your statement and saying "there's nothing stopping me from walking into my neighbor's house and shooting him."

@skip- Like I said, I don't speak for all Liberals so I don' think Republicans are motivated by race here, just a desire to win. Democrats have the same motivation. To be fair, there has been a lack of comments from people on the left saying this bill is wrong because it deals with one of our most fundamental rights and any restriction should be heavilty scrutinized.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The GOP war on registered voters is happening here in Missouri. The GOP-dominated legislature is trying to pass voter ID laws in addition to the ID laws already tied to voter registration. The whole purpose is to exclude minorities and young people from voting.

Across the country, I think the GOP is scared to death that they will be toast if the people they are trying to exclude vote. And they are right.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I just noted that the essay containing the offensive bigotry was NOT written by Mr Sargent, but by Mr Serwer.

I apologize to Mr Sargent for the confusion.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 9, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I swear to God if keep seeing you people calling each other "retards" in various forms.... GTH

Posted by: roskoreh | March 9, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I think we should go back to the days where only property owners with their skin in the game could vote.

Posted by: ronjaboy | March 9, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

""I wonder, are Republicans are dying faster than they are being created?" I think this argument has some merit to it, as sue points out there's the new Hispanic voters. but there's also been research into the liberal baby or fertility gap -- namely that progressives have fewer (or any) kids than conservatives. I've seen this anecdotally among friends. more than one progressive couple is childless-by-choice. the conservatives I know have 2 (at least) kids. Posted by: NoVAHockey "

It has a whole lot of reality to it.

By 1960 the republican Party was slowly becoming a distinctively minority party. The disaster of 64 helped accelerate that process. Republicans were more and more identified as anti labor and anti poor and middle class.

Then Johnson signed the Civil Rights legislation and Nixon showed the republicans how to win friends and influence people by talking repeal of those bills while not actually intending to try. LOTS of democrats swore off that party forever and have religiously kept that oath.

But the generations that were then transformed are now dying off, and their descendants don't share the animus. And meanwhile the republican party has spent the last forty years using its unearned majority to more solidly establish its self as the Party of the Very Rich, and nothing else.

Now the Unrich children of those miffed Democrats have to decide if their parents antiself interest voting makes any sense at all.

As the Jim Crow Republican electorate dies, they leave no heirs who have any reason to give their allegiance to the preposterously wealthy.

The Republicans recognize this, and given the choice between changing and limiting their voting opponents take the only path open to them.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 9, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Scientician, Mr serwer should thank you for your apology for his bigotry. I understand your comment but it is not responsive to my concern. The history of these laws have no bearing on the bigotry of Adam Serwer. Here's the peccant part:
"It was an unusual move for a Republican, since the GOP generally supports felony disenfranchisement laws because they disproportionately affect blacks who tend to vote for Democrats."

the words after "because" are offensive. They don't draw on your history lesson. Rather they seem to draw on Mr Serwer's massive contempt for those with the temerity to disagree with the liberal agenda.

Thanks for the insight but it doesn't change my mind. I've been called a racist by too many liberals to buy your apology.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 9, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

According to the article 1/4 of the disenfranchised under the law were black, which is disproportionate to the number % of blacks in our country (not quite double) but means most of the disenfranchised are black. Why then the focus on blacks other than the historical attempts to exclude blacks? I bet a rather large percent of the disenfranchised were poor, so that seems like it would be a more appropriate focus. That focus still wouldn't undermine the point that the bill is aimed at hurting voter turnout for Democrats.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

bayma1:

"I'm republican and I am against allowing felons the right to vote because they broke a social contract to not violate our nation's laws. I don't care who you are or what race you are, if you commit a felony you should not have the right to vote."

Why voting? There are many other civil rights society could theoretically withdraw from people who violate the "social contract" (I don't think that means what you think it means).

For example, why not take away their right to drive a car? I bet that would be a more effective deterrent.

Or maybe their right to get married, or to own property or to sue for damages?

It's interesting that voting is somehow the thing they pick to take away.

And there's still no good reason for it.

I also suspect no one here would even agree what the definition of "felony" is. I have seen some shockingly trivial offences categorized as "felonies" under US State laws.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever read the Supreme Court decision Gore vs Bush 2000? Get a copy.

I was never so shocked & disappointed in my life as when I read the words "the American people have no federally protected Constitutional right to vote". Does that mean democracy is unConstitutional?

ust in case, I'm proposing a Constitutional amendment "Democracy being a necessary part of a free and prosperous society, Congress shall support democratic principles for all organizations, public and private". Any comments?

Posted by: musician1 | March 9, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse


Tea-bagger repubclians won't be happy until only white male landowners are the only people who can vote!

Posted by: jeffc6578 | March 9, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@skippy - Republicans simply hate that Democrats get votes. So, any effort to make it more difficult is kosher.

In the case of college students, Republicans are trying to impose unique residency requirements upon them. Here's an entertaining one from Virginia:

Under the Virginia Constitution, a prospective voter must be a resident of the precinct where he seeks to register. In order to establish "residency", a prospective voter must show that (1) he has an actual physical place of abode in the precinct, and (2) he is domiciled there. The regulations recognize that in order to establish “domicile,” a person must live in a particular locality with the intent to remain there for an ***unlimited time***. [Emphasis mine.]

That's rich. How many people stay in one place for an unlimited time? Under these regulations, I would have been ineligible to vote until my mid-thirties. None of this is about principles and unless you can admit that, you're showing the lack of yours.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 9, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Bayma- I was convicted of the felony of manslaughter by vehicle several years ago. My fiance planned a birthday party for me and intended to be our designated driver. She broke her heel and twisted her ankle, and I made the terrible choice to drive us home. I flipped my car and killed her. I served time in prison and am currently disenfranchised until 2014. I deserved everything I got.

I also have since worked to improve the lives of others by helping people get on their feet after incarceration, and I speak with high school students about the dangers of making risky decisions.

I don't disagree with you that there are appropriate collateral consequences that should accompany a conviction. Felony disenfranchisement, I think, is appropriate on a temporary basis, at least until a person has completed their entire sentence, prison and parole/probation.

I am wondering if there is any point after a person has violated the social compact at which that person should be considered a full citizen again. Do you think there is? Personally, I will never forgive myself for what I did, and I work hard to make up for it, though I doubt I ever will.

I am an engaged citizen and spend a lot of time in the halls of congress, the fbi building, department of justice, and other places where I can work to make sure other people don't repeat my mistakes but that they also get second chances.

Is there a point at which you'd consent I deserve to vote again. I do not mean this as any kind of attack. I am really curious.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Also- Scientician, there are a tremendous number of other rights/privileges that a person loses after a conviction: the ability to qualify for public benefits, housing, many forms of employment, student loans just to name a few. Many of these consequences last a lifetime; though others are limited in duration.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien83 -- First, that's a horrible story and I'm sorry you went through that.

I would agree that there could be time limits on the disenfranchisement of felons once they are released. Those that are currently serving their sentences and then, once released, for a time to be determined by a legislative body should lose the right to vote.

Scientician said why not take away a felon's right (though no such *right* exists) to drive. That would be encroaching on their ability to survive and make a living once released and makes no sense. Losing the right to vote does not inhibit a person's ability to live.

Posted by: bayma1 | March 9, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

skip:

"the words after "because" are offensive. They don't draw on your history lesson. Rather they seem to draw on Mr Serwer's massive contempt for those with the temerity to disagree with the liberal agenda.

Thanks for the insight but it doesn't change my mind. I've been called a racist by too many liberals to buy your apology. "

That's because you, like most conservatives have a childish conception of racism as a binary switch, where unless one wears white sheets and attends cross burnings, you aren't a racist.

I don't know or particularly care if you or most Republicans personally hate black people in a deep emotional way. You're here defending laws put in place to keep blacks out of the voting booth and crying about your hurt feelings because someone pointed that out directly.

Racist laws and policies don't have "because we hate black people" written into them, but anyone can see the obvious effects and surmise that was the point all along.

It's just what Lee Atwater said:

"So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it."

Republican strategists know this is about racism, but you don't and get mad when anyone points it out. Sad.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

bayma- I appreciate the sentiment, and I agree with you. As a person with resources that make living with a criminal record easier than it is for a lot of people, and as a person who cares deeply about the direction of my country and community, losing my right to vote is pretty significant to me, but I think it is an appropriate sanction. In Maryland, where I live, voting rights are restored as soon as one completes his or her sentence, including parole/probation, but other states that have time limits, I agree, are also on the right track.

When I worked directly with guys coming home from prison, they weren't nearly as concerned as I am about the voting issue. They were much more troubled by the difficulty in finding employment, which is tough for everyone right now but even more so for people with convictions on their records. This difficulty often leads people back into a life of crime or at least makes it more likely.

Interestingly, there is a huge amount of evidence showing that people who obtain employment and people who vote are much less likely to commit new crimes, though, of course, this doesn't necessarily demonstrate causation, only correlation.

I think you are right, for most of those guys, losing a license would be much more devastating than losing the franchise. I don't drive nor desire to anymore, so it's not an issue for me.

Again, I appreciate your thoughtful response.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 9, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Bayma:

"Scientician said why not take away a felon's right (though no such *right* exists) to drive. That would be encroaching on their ability to survive and make a living once released and makes no sense. Losing the right to vote does not inhibit a person's ability to live."

Are you arguing there should be a right to drive? And if there is a right to vote, why is it so much easier to revoke?

I suggested several other civil rights that could be revoked. Should felons be allowed to open businesses? Use public parks? Drink alcohol? Attend publicly funded schools?

You think there is some bright line around voting, but I don't see it, it's part of a spectrum of civic activities and rights and why you think it should be revoked for crimes remains a mystery. yes, they did bad things, they were punished according to sentences handed down through the judicial system. Paid their debts and are now free, why can't they vote again exactly?

Voting is a right, in the grand moral sense, regardless of what any law says. It is the essence of a democracy and free society and thus the bar for taking it away from someone should be much higher than "he did something bad." Mill's harm principle applies here.

Posted by: Scientician | March 9, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Convicted felons are still obligated to obey the law and pay taxes. As such, they should have the right to vote.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | March 9, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting discussion, folks. Thanks for your openness.

@Scientician - I'd support a restriction on voting until one's probation is completed. At that point, a debt to society is paid in full. Restrictions on gun ownership for those convicted of violent offenses or free movement for pedophiles are examples of a specific restriction relating to previous conduct.

As for skip's false cries of racism, Republicans and Democrats are very well aware of the voting patterns of different groups. Age, race, education, ethnic, etc. The move against convicted felons as well as college students is for transparent political purposes. Racism has nothing to do with it. It's just about winning, baby.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 9, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

In Michigan the Republican Party has Voted to Eliminate and DE-Incorporate Cities without due process.

In fact they are hiring a company assigned to do this..

THE GOP is Creating a Dictatorship..

AND NOBODY is Paying Attention

Posted by: RealConservativesPayTaxes | March 9, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Sad. The Republicans would rather use political tactics that help to ensure their win rather than offer a quality candidate that would be elected by the majority of Americans.

I guess the GOP is taking their cues from third world dictatorships....Bush managed to steal an election, but Obama put a scare in their souls. Now, they want to fix the election so that they can win and proclaim, "America voted for this", when their corporate masters turn the middle class into a socialist China-like worker class. Can you say minimum wages for all??

Posted by: massmedia77 | March 9, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I don't believe that any of this has much to do with race, per se. I just think the Republicans want to do anything and everything to ensure that they get back in power and STAY in power.

This is about the poor and the wealthy...in other words, MONEY. When George W. Bush was in office, wealthy crooks were accruing more and more wealth due to deregulation and falsifying ledgers. The CEO's want their big bonuses back, but this time, their making moves to ensure that their puppets, Republicorp, stay in power.

Posted by: massmedia77 | March 9, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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