They Deserve to Vote

 

 

 

48 states have laws preventing 4.4 million Americans from voting. They are formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences. But they’re also husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, business owners and vital members of communities all over the country. Our billboard campaign will shine a light on the continued injustice of denying them the right to vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

This felony voter disenfranchisement issue has been on the table for a while and honestly in the past got little attention. People who have been convicted of a non-felony crime should not believe that they don't have the right to vote. In Houston for at least the 5 years (probably more), there has been a low-key campaign to advise non felon ex-convicts in the black community that they do indeed have the right to vote. I believe that this would indeed change the balance of power at state and federal elections.

Originally Posted by Yemaya:

This felony voter disenfranchisement issue has been on the table for a while and honestly in the past got little attention. People who have been convicted of a non-felony crime should not believe that they don't have the right to vote. In Houston for at least the 5 years (probably more), there has been a low-key campaign to advise non felon ex-convicts in the black community that they do indeed have the right to vote. I believe that this would indeed change the balance of power at state and federal elections.

 

The real problem, though, is that MOST convictions for Black people ARE deemed "felonies"!!!  And it's those with the stigma of the term "felons" who are disenfranchised in these states.

 

The hook here comes from the total and complete unfairness of determining that basically trivial laws .... such as drug violations and especially NON-VIOLENT crimes - which are the ones most Black people get saddled with - are prosecuted as a  "felony" instead of a misdemeanor or basic state criminal or civil law!!  

 

Because a "felony" is considered the most serious kind of crime .... White/racist/discriminating states make the least serious crimes a felony ... and effectively cut those people out of the voting/society-in-general process.  Some of them for life!  

 

Some states do offer a process that a so-called "felon" can go through to get their rights restored ... but, it's often a long and tedious thing that a lot of ex-inmates don't even think about or want to put themselves through!!

 

But ... especially for us ... we need to do more to convince them to 'get back in the game' ... whatever they have to do to make that happen!!  AND to support legislation and organizations (of which there are several now) that are working to get those currently being kept out of the system back into it after they've fully 'paid their dues to society'!!

 

Because it IS important.  And we ARE missing out on LARGE numbers of crucial votes/voices/support that would help us as a community be able to do some of the things we need to do!

Many of the states that have these laws against "felons" voting, it is often only while they are serving time or are on probation or parole.  

 

Many people with felony convictions do not know that once they are no longer incarcerated and no long on probation or parole, they can vote just like anyone else.

 

I will give you that, if you violate the law, you give up most privileges, including the right to vote, but once you have paid your debt to society your privileges should be reinstated, and that should be the case in every state.  

 

Voting Rights are Federal Law, and States are in violation of the Constitution when they make laws that bypass, usurp or overrule the Federal Law.  So, most of the laws restricting voting rights of ex-felons are probably unconstitutional anyway.

Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Many of the states that have these laws against "felons" voting, it is often only while they are serving time or are on probation or parole.  

 

Many people with felony convictions do not know that once they are no longer incarcerated and no long on probation or parole, they can vote just like anyone else.

 

I will give you that, if you violate the law, you give up most privileges, including the right to vote, but once you have paid your debt to society your privileges should be reinstated, and that should be the case in every state.  

 

 

 

Unfortunately, things aren't really that cut-and-dried.  

 

This is a pretty good chart that details the rules/laws regarding felony disenfranchisement.  In very few states are voting rights simply restored after someone finishes their sentence, parole or probation.  In most, that person has to "apply" to have their rights restored.  And "applying" isn't a guarantee.  Just because they ask for it doesn't mean they get it!!

 

Also ... it very much depends on the "crime" that the person was convicted of.  For 'violent crime' felonies, most states deny the restoration of voting rights, period.

 

 

Voting Rights are Federal Law, and States are in violation of the Constitution when they make laws that bypass, usurp or overrule the Federal Law.  So, most of the laws restricting voting rights of ex-felons are probably unconstitutional anyway.

 

 Also .... this is a VERY HOTLY debated issue!!    And one on which I'm not sure just where my opinion actually lies!!

 

Technically ... there is no "federal" or any other "right" to vote!!   Which is why some refer to it as a "privilege" given to citizens and regulated by states ... because, although it's universally called/considered a "right" ... there is NO LAW in the form of a "legal authority" which really backs that up!!  

 

Nothing in the Constitution gives any citizen the "right" to vote!!  Federal and constitutional law/amendments give certain protections against discrimination when it comes to who can and cannot vote.  But that is not the same thing as a "legal authorization" to perform the task of voting itself.

 

Initially, it was considered a "privilege" given to White men with money and power, to be able to elect a government ... which IS established in the Constitution to be a requirement of governance for the United States!!  But .. the Amendments to the Constitution which cover certain rules and laws with respect to voting are simply to state that you can't leave certain people out of the process ... if they ARE indeed citizens ... with the first of them, the 14th Amendment, clarifying what a "citizen" actually is!!

 

The absence of federal law and the regulation of the voting process by the States is, in some arguments, what makes it a "privilege" rather than a "right."  But the line is definitely blurred by the fact that it is universally CALLED a "right" even though it has NOT been LEGALLY established as one!!!  

 

So .... I dunno what you do in a case of chaos/confusion such as that!!  

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