Disenfranchisement by any name is disenfranchisement:
Few people realize that voting rights are left up to the states — a legacy of the South’s post-Civil War effort to prohibit newly freed slaves from voting.
California’s voting laws, however, are relatively liberal compared to the 14 states that permanently bar ex-felons from voting and the 29 states that prevent criminals from voting while on probation. Only two states — Maine and Vermont — follow the European pattern of allowing all inmates and ex-convicts to vote.
You’re probably thinking this has nothing to do with you. But you would be wrong. It could affect your troubled teenager. As New York defense attorney Andrew Shapiro has noted, “An 18-year-old first-time offender who trades a guilty plea for a nonprison sentence may unwittingly sacrifice forever his right to vote.”
Felony disenfranchisement is an abomination. Racist in its roots, its supporters today, afraid to state that motivation, resort to agruments that border on (“It’s part of the punishment.”) and often cross the line of absurdity (“Well, murderers might vote to legalize murder!”).
- “It’s part of the punishment.” ~ But isn’t the threat of punishment supposed to be the deterrent? Has anyone ever not committed a crime because they feared losing their right to vote?
- “Well, murderers might vote to legalize murder!” ~ So what? How can anyone entertain the sillyness that murders will ever have enough votes to elect a pro-murder candidate?
The fact of the matter is that felony convictions rates among blacks are far higher than among whites. And yes, blacks do commit more crimes per capita than whites, but that is because on a per capita basis, they are simply poorer. When race is removed as a factor, income level proves to be a far greater predictor of felony conviction rates. And poor people tend to vote Democratic.
The bottom line on felony disenfranchisement is that it is a tool being used by the Republican Party to lower opposition voting. Let’s call a spade a spade.
[From Black Box Notes.]