Ex-Offenders and the Vote

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I don’t think the New York Times has any idea how it sounds to ordinary Americans when it argues that there is no good reason to deny former prisoners the vote:

Millions of ex-offenders who have been released from prison are denied the right to vote. That undercuts efforts to reintegrate former prisoners into mainstream society. And it goes against one of democracy’s most fundamental principles: that governments should rule with the consent of the governed.

Congress held hearings last week on a bill, the Democracy Restoration Act, that would allow released ex-felons to vote in federal elections. It would also require the states, which administer elections, to give them appropriate notice that this right has been restored.

Most Americans wouldn’t call them ex-offenders; they’d call them convicted felons — or simply criminals. And can you argue, with a straight face, that former prisoners would become productive members of society — if only they had the vote? Seriously?

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