WASHINGTON - Jack Kemp, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and HUD secretary, urged Congress on Tuesday to require states to restore voting rights for felons once they complete their sentences.
"It's important, if we're going to call ourselves a democracy, that everybody more or less have the right to vote," Nadler said.
Kemp quickly endorsed the idea, pointing out that minorities are disproportionately charged with felonies.
"My answer is unambiguously yes," said Kemp, a former congressman from New York, one of a handful of states that restores voting rights to criminals once they complete their prison term or probation. "It is a restriction that needs to be modified."
Full article here.
If ex-felons are permitted to vote, how do you think this will affect the political process?
I've long agreed that former convicts/felons should have voting rights restored after completion of their full sentence, including probation. My take on it has always been that they've "paid society" for their crime and are supposed to be allowed back in to society. Voting is a clear indication that someone is a member of society, the acceptance of that person back into society, and perhaps even a psychological boost for the "returning citizen."
Will it change the political process? Not likely. The fact that they would be allowed to vote doesn't mean that they would register and actually vote. Call me a cynic, far too few of our eligible voters take the time to vote and I don't think the newly re-enfranchised would be that different.
L.W., Facing South is blogging about the overturn of a Georgia law today that required people to purchase picture IDs in order to vote. They quote the Washington Post:
In a case that some have called a showdown over voting rights, a U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to get government-issued photo identification in order to vote.
The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years. In prior elections, Georgians could use any one of 17 types of identification that show the person's name and address, including a driver's license, utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck, to gain access to a voting booth.
Last week, when issuing the injunction, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy likened the law to a Jim Crow-era poll tax that required residents, most of them black, to pay back taxes before voting. He said the law appeared to violate the Constitution for that reason. In the 2004 election, about 150,000 Georgians voted without producing government-issued identification.
"Obviously, we're very pleased with the decision," said Daniel Levitas of the American Civil Liberties Union, which joined the NAACP and other groups in a federal lawsuit against the Georgia law. "It's especially timely to see the federal courts step in to protect the precious rights of voters. This decision confirms our contention that the Georgia ID law poses a constitutional hurdle to the right to vote."
Good for the court for recognizing the elitist scams to keep people from voting for what they are.
BTW, it's rather a no-brainer that someone should be allowed to vote once they've completed their sentence, whether it's Bernie Ebber or some drug dealer no one has ever heard of. With all due respect, only a no-brainer would argue otherwise.
Ebberzzzzzz, I mean.
BTW, did I ever blog about the tricky way Wyatt Emmerich misquoted me a few weeks back about Bernie Ebbers? I called him out on it in e-mail, but he doesn't seem to have a basic understanding of how to quote, and paraphrase, people.
While fussing about Our Wyatt, did y'all see his publisher's note this week. (I know, probably not.) It's kind of an odd, personal tale about his family's "friendship" with the Hodding Carter family, blah, blah. (It'll be interesting to see what Hodding III thinks of it.) Meantime, though, the oddest thing I saw in it was his outrage that anyone would think that his actions with his paper (like, say, giving a prize to a columnist who wrote in a poorly written column that blacks should give thanks every day for slavery?) would shock his grandfather Oliver Emmerich, who was a hero of sorts of the Civil Rights Movement because he did not stand firmly for segregation. Fine, it's his granddaddy. However, I found it highly amusing that he defends his grandpop by standing emphatically that he adored Nixon and Reagan -- two presidents who moved race relations backward in the country with their cynical use of the southern strategy to get the racist vote for Republicans.
Er, Wyatt, this doesn't exactly make your grandfather look good, even if it does help you with your claim to his mantle. And even bringing up Nixon and Reagan in an effort to show how great your family has been over the years on the race question is a kinda weird tactic if you understand the recent history of race politics in America.
Nope, this one doesn't work for you, friend. Go back to the well.
Let's be blunt here: The objective of both of these types of laws--the disenfranchisement laws and the "motor voter" laws--is to prevent as many people of color from voting as the law allows, simply because whites are overpresented among those with driver's licenses and photo IDs, non-whites are overrepresented among those convicted of felonies, and non-whites are disproportionately like to vote Democratic. This is why these laws only seem to come to the table when Republicans are in power.
Motor voter is to Jim Crow what Intelligent Design is to creationism: A constitutional remedy intended to achieve an objective in a subtle way, where more explicit remedies have been declared unconstitutional in the past. I'm glad the 11th Circuit did the right thing here. I hope that when the case reaches the Supreme Court, its members will also do the right thing. Clarence Thomas used to be head of the EEOC, the very agency responsible for investigating discrimination--so if he has any moral convictions at all, I would expect him to be a swing vote on this issue.
- Tom Head