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October 27, 2008

Noticing the new ex-felon voting block

This Los Angeles Times article spotlights a notable new voting block: former felons who have regained the right to vote.  Here are snippets from the article:

At least a dozen states have changed their laws since 2003 to allow more felons who are no longer in prison to cast ballots, reversing a long-standing trend.  And though studies show that felons lean Democratic, states led by Republican governors have loosened their voting rules, including Alabama, Nebraska, Nevada and Florida -- where officials have learned from the 2000 presidential race just how close an election can be.

States restored voting rights to about 760,000 felons in the last decade, according to tallies by voting rights groups, but data on how many have registered to cast ballots are sketchy.  Whether these voters could tip an election in a presidential swing state is a matter of speculation.

But the new laws have produced aggressive registration drives this election season in the most unconventional of places -- soup kitchens, halfway houses, even Alabama state prisons.  "This is the first time in history that some of these places have ever seen this kind of civic activity," said the Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, who served time in prison.  He now heads an Alabama nonprofit faith-based organization and has led efforts to register the state's current and former convicts....

In some states, voting rights activists have been joined by evangelical Christian groups who argue that forgiveness plays an important role in rehabilitating criminals.  "We try to challenge the conservatives," said Pat Nolan, vice president of Prison Fellowship, a conservative Christian justice reform group founded by Charles Colson, the former Nixon administration aide who was convicted of Watergate-related crimes.  Nolan is a former state assemblyman from Glendale who served time in federal prison for racketeering.  "Why, after someone has paid their debt, do we continue to punish them?"

According to advocacy groups, about 5.3 million Americans, or 1 in 41 adults, have lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction.

October 27, 2008 at 09:39 AM | Permalink

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James Thomas Webb:
www.theWAHM.org
http://groups.google.com/group/TheWebbWahm

Help to rebuild America through WAHM by creating affordable housing and jobs, especially to ex felons who are trying to make a living in a positive way.

Posted by: James T Webb | Feb 13, 2009 2:31:37 PM

This is not a comment but a question. I am just an individual, no student or member of any legal organization. My question is: Why is there no way for a person convicted of a non-violent felony to have it completely erased after 20, 25, 30 plus years of being a upstanding citizen? A one time crime of an 18 to 21 year old should be able to be totally erased after a number of years. Completely for anyone not just defferred judication (which is not a complete expugement). They say 80% of the crimes is committed by 20% of the people. After being arrested and convicted most people have learned their lesson and no longer commit any crime. I feel that the total redemption of individuals would be a major incentive never to commit a crime again while the other side of the coin would be, once convicted why bother to conform you will always be looked down on and never have the same opportunity as others so wht try. People will do what they have to do to survive in the situation they're stuck in because there is no incentive, no hope of redemption.

Posted by: Steve Willams | Apr 4, 2009 11:07:02 AM

Hello, my name is Mahdee Gill. I am from Memphis,Tn and have been convicted of two felonies. It is amazing how few oppurtunities are out there for me. Every job application that I ever filled out I have never been called back for. There is no housing for me in reference to the local housing authority. There are no health benefits for me. The way that i make a living is by shining peoples shoes. Most people think that I like my job, I hate it. There is a dream that I harbor.It is to have a meaningful position at a company making decent wages. It is a shame that I probably will never see these dreams come true. The USA is supposed to be a place built on the principle of second chances and redemption. It's too bad that I never will realize this dream. If I could i would give up my citizenship and just leave the USA. Good luck to all of you who are advocating change as for me I am just waiting to die these days because there really is nothing in this world left for me.

Posted by: Mahdee Gill | Sep 8, 2009 10:50:09 PM

Mr. Gill,

Do NOT give up on your dream. Do NOT give up on the United States of America. Do not give up on Second Chances. Your pain is felt by tens of millions of other ex felons everyday. While you have never been called back on your applications for jobs you applied for which could help you fullfill your dream, there could be a higher calling which you are missing. Read Save Your Neighborhood and Yourself with WAHM by James T Webb Master Builder. Maybe it is time for you to return to the community you grew up in and face hundreds of other younger brothers with the sames reality. Learn and teach them as well to rebuild their neighborhoods. Buy the crack house, and rebuild it with brothers from the hood....of all races. Never give up. Read this book and reach out for me at www.thewahm.org, as you travel this journey.

God Bless,
James T Webb
MasterBuilder

Posted by: James Thomas Webb | May 15, 2010 5:43:06 PM

In Austria and Germany records are sealed even from the authorities after 15 years. Arrest, conviction, and release records only have the last name initial, even in newspapers. It is rumored England is similar regarding expungement, but I havent confirmed it.

Posted by: J R | Oct 23, 2011 9:23:53 AM

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