May 17, 2013
Getting Felons to the Polls

Practically every adult American is a felon, most of us repeat offenders. Think not? Have you ever been in possession of marijuana? Sold a little to a friend? Left the scene of an accident? Lied to the police (just a couple of beers, officer)? Slipped a little something into your purse at Macy’s? Cheated on your taxes? Sold subprime mortgages? Worked for Goldman Sachs?

Why, then, do we allow nonsense like this:

Around one in every 40 American adults is ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction. While most states forbid felons in prison from voting (Maine and Vermont are the only exceptions), 19 others also forbid those on parole or probation from voting and 11 states disenfranchise felons even after they have served their time, accounting for nearly half of the 5.85m disenfranchised. That number is five times higher than it was in 1976. It includes one in every 13 black adults, and in three states (Florida, Virginia and Kentucky), more than one in every five.

If we truly wanted the United States to be an actual democracy, of, by and for the people, we would make it a felony for felons not to vote.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 17, 2013 11:56 AM
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