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August 5, 2009

New NY Times editorial on felon disenfranchisement

Responding in part to this recent split First Circuit ruling upholding Massachusetts decision to deny the vote to incarcerated prisonder, the New York Times today has this editorial headlined "A Loss for Voting Rights."  Here are excerpts:

Voting rights advocates have had little success challenging felon disenfranchisement laws in court. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, became the latest federal court to uphold a ban on voting by convicted felons. Despite these setbacks, the cause is important. Voting rights advocates should keep fighting in the courts, state legislatures and Congress.

In 2000, Massachusetts changed its laws to prohibit felons in prison from voting. Until then, it was one of only three states that let felons vote from behind bars. Even with the change, Massachusetts remains one of just 13 jurisdictions that disenfranchise felons while they are incarcerated but not after they are freed....

The United States aspires to be a nation in which the government rules by the consent of the governed people. Prisoners do not cease to be people.

Felon disenfranchisement is also bad prison policy. In recent years, the prison system has all but given up on trying to rehabilitate prisoners. Allowing felons to vote is good preparation for making them free, law-abiding citizens.

August 5, 2009 at 08:59 AM | Permalink


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Too bad for the NY Times that the American people think otherwise. People voting from behind bars? Yeah, there's an idea.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 5, 2009 1:44:35 PM

Democrats advocate voting rights for criminals. Almost all criminals are Democrats, as are most law professors. The Democrats want more Democrat votes from criminals. Enfranchisement of criminals is an easy, immediate increase in Democrat voters.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 5, 2009 9:53:45 PM

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