New Felon Disfranchisement Awareness Project Underway

The ACLU and BlackElectorate.com have teamed up to start a new public awareness project focusing on the
"devastating effects of felony disfranchisement on this country’s African-American community."

How bad is the problem?

One out of every seven - or 1.4 million - African-American men is disfranchised and cannot vote due to a felony conviction. This rate is nearly seven times the national disfranchisement rate of one in 41 adults.

Consider the vote in Texas yesterday:

Over half a million Texan citizens will be unable to vote due to a felony conviction. Over 165,000 of those disfranchised Texans are black,” said Laleh Ispahani, Senior Policy Counsel with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. “Disfranchisement runs contrary to fundamental precepts of democracy, human rights, and of giving people a second chance, a chance at true rehabilitation.”

The ACLU's page on felon disfranchisement is here. A state by state guide is here.

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    The biggest untold story.... (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 01:33:54 PM EST
    of this, and every recent, election.

    Pay your debt to society, get all of your civil rights back.  What's wrong with that?

    1 out of 41 adults disenfranchised...absolutely shameful for the supposed leader of the "free" world.

    Ok.... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:58:42 PM EST
    if you stop making excuses for the law.

    How convenient for the lawmakers....disenfranchising those they harm so sh*t never changes.


    Gosh (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 01:40:01 PM EST
    It almost seems like a GOP plot.... Nah... couldn't be...  not.

    In fairness.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 01:52:50 PM EST
    the D's seem to enjoy making felons out of people as much as the R's.

    The disenfranchising...yeah, I could see the R's favoring that bit a little more:)


    Less So (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:01:21 PM EST
    Although I get your point. The caging of Florida voters, and  gerrymandering has been a GOP tool against AA poor, who also are largely dems. Apart from the racist arrest and conviction stats, the disenfranchisement of felons seems to be to the GOP advantage.

    I am sure that both parties are aware of the imbalance. Dems are more likely to reverse the disenfranchisement, not only because it is in their interest, but it is part of Democratic ideology. Too bad it is usually waaaaay on the back burner.


    There's an easy way.... (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:11:29 PM EST
    to reverse it...Congress can stop manufacturing felons.

    Dems had control of the congress for the vast majority of our war on drugs...they are more to blame for this mess than the R's in that regard.  They passed the laws that laid the groundwork to allow the R's to disenfranchise.

    When I think of felon disenfranchisement I think of my dad....after he got out of jail he raised a family and paid taxes for over 40 years.  To think that some states wouldn't let him vote ever again is infuriating.  Come to think of it, shouldn't disenfranchised felons be exempt from paying taxes?  No taxation without representation and all that....


    Was your dad never allowed to vote? (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:25:19 PM EST
    In New York State and most states in the U.S., convicted felons lose their voting rights while they are incarcerated or on parole.

    Yes he could.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:31:23 PM EST
    some states do the right thing, luckily mine does in this regard.

    good point. (none / 0) (#25)
    by kangeroo on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:41:42 PM EST
    this is just one of the many ways in which dems need some goddamn backbone.  a majority isn't enough when they're scared of their own shadows.

    They're no longer felons (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by mexboy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:22:20 PM EST
    They should just be called ex-felons (i don't like that either) how about just citizens, I don't know.

    Excellent point.... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    Citizens are what ex-cons are, and all then rights of citizens is what they should have.

    Or print up some tax exempt certificates, if I were an ex-com I'd take either or.


    Give the Repugs (none / 0) (#14)
    by jondee on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:46:15 PM EST
    a little more rope and they'd probobly try to push through something along the lines of the Civil War Draft laws in which you can pay someone to be a felon FOR you.

    Not to give them any ideas.


    LOL..... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:49:43 PM EST
    I'm waiting for a call for the return of debtors prisons...I think we'll see that first when people stop paying their credit card bills and mortgages as our economic chickens come home to roost.

    but this does sound a bit hypoerbolic to me:
    devastating effects of felony disfranchisement on this country's African-American community.
    Devastating? Like Katrina was? Or crack is? Or the actual physical imprisonment?

    I'd say devastating... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    to the political voice of the black community, or devastating to the legitimacy of our democracy...not physically devastating like actual imprisonment, or a hurricane.

    I see your point, (none / 0) (#13)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:35:09 PM EST
    but imo, this is similar to the hyperbole apparent in our current primary race regarding the use of the terms "sexist" and "racist"...

    I see your point as well.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:46:31 PM EST
    Has hyperbole always been the norm?

    Poetic license (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:48:36 PM EST
    I like to call it.

    It does serve a purpose I guess... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:08:27 PM EST
    First and foremost, you need to get people to listen.

    But there needs to be sound reasoning behind the hyperbole, which I sometimes find lacking in the debates of the day.


    Dunno. maybe so. (none / 0) (#18)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:52:16 PM EST
    Not that all poetry (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:54:56 PM EST
    is good poetry.

    Somebody said there's nothing as toxic as a bad metaphor.


    Here's a thought (none / 0) (#23)
    by jarober on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:36:22 PM EST
    Don't do the crime if the consequences suck.  I realize that might be advanced thinking for some around here...

    you must be a republican. (none / 0) (#26)
    by kangeroo on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:44:43 PM EST
    Here's another (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 01:53:59 PM EST
    Dont vote this time, becuse the last time the consequences sucked.

    I am largely (none / 0) (#24)
    by facta non verba on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:37:05 PM EST
    ignorant of the politics of crime, so thank you for shedding light on this subject. I do remember the Florida campaign of 2000 when many felons were disenfranchised and where flyers were left on cars in black and poor neighborhoods suggesting that if a voter had as much as driving violation or an overdue library book they could not vote. Those are the tactics of the GOP.

    Another one that I rail against was a rider attached to a military appropriations bill by Senator Kit Bond of Missouri that allows voter registration drives on military bases but prohibits them within 300 yards of public housing projects. That is an outrage.

    no kidding. modern-day version of (none / 0) (#27)
    by kangeroo on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:47:12 PM EST
    poll taxes and literacy tests.  it's sometimes hard to remember why we shouldn't declare bloody war on the gop.  oh yeah, and then i remember that we need a backbone first.  sheesh.

    Texas actually has good re-enfranchisement law (none / 0) (#28)
    by Gritsforbreakfast on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:12:53 AM EST
    Actually, Texas has a good re-enfranchisement law compared to many states. Felons can vote again as soon as they're off paper, i.e., when they've completed either their sentence, parole, or their probation term. Quite a few other states ban for years afterward or even for life.

    The reason we have half a million ineligible is we have ten year probation terms, so that's basically how many probationers and parolees are out there. But one in 11 Texans has a felony record, and the vast majority of them are eligible to vote.