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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Making the Case for Felon Enfranchisement

A writer with the handle “Mr. Populist” has an insightful post at Daily Kos on the Clinton-Kerry ‘Count Every Vote Act,” and its provision restoring voting rights to convicted felons — as well as the GOP spin machine’s efforts to discredit it. This is one of the better articles yet written on the topic of felon disenfranchisement, and it sheds fresh light on moral and practical concerns related to the issue.

2 comments on “Making the Case for Felon Enfranchisement

  1. vinroc31 on

    Mark makes an interesting point, but I must defer to the key argument of the original piece: “State laws restricting felons from voting should be scrapped because the technology is not available to generate fair and accurate felon lists. As long as felon lists are inaccurate, innocent people will be denied the right to vote because they have the bad luck of having the same name as a convicted felon.” That is a powerful argument.
    Another argument for restoring the right to vote to felons that have served their time – as decided by the people – is that felons are still required to pay taxes and abide by the laws of the land. As a former resident of Washington, DC, I am reminded of the 1990’s license plate: “Taxation without Representation” (tellingly, this tag was on the Clinton presidential limo but immediately removed as soon as Bush entered office). If we expect that felons will pay taxes and (hopefully) follow the law, then they should be given the right to decide, though a vote, which lawmakers are in power to make these laws.
    But, no matter what side of the fense one is on, it can’t be disputed that the current policy must be reevaluated and become uniform at the national level. The right to vote is a national right and should not be left to individual states to decide. The current process leaves the door wide open for intentional and illegal abuse by those in power at the state level. A national policy would be more transparent, accurate, and fair.

  2. Mark Scott on

    This _IS_ exactly what the Democratic leadership is missing about the vast American Middle. It appears that the Democrats are pandering to convicted felons (many or most of whom deprived other Americans of their rights and are there fore where they deserve to be) for their votes just to gain power for the sake of power.
    Most opinion polls would depict that the majority of Americans believe in fairness, but also in law and order. They go to work every day without stealing or harming their neighbors, and raise their families to do well in the world. The Felon Vote is the antithesis of middle America and its values.
    If the Democrat leadership focused as much attention on Working America as they due on justly convicted felonss, they might actually win back power, and then be in a position to herald in some needed changes, but not if they keep courting felons.
    What good is it to gain the votes of justly convicted felons, only to lose the massive voting power of law abiding middle america?


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