February 21, 2005
While we're on the subject of voting rights

Let me say that I fully endorse the Count Every Vote Act.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible White House candidate in 2008, joined 2004 nominee John Kerry and other Democrats Thursday in urging that Election Day be made a federal holiday to encourage voting.

She also pushed for legislation that would allow all ex-felons to vote.

Standing with Massachusetts Sen. Kerry and other Democrats who had alleged voting irregularities in the 2004 contest, Clinton said, "Once again we had a federal election that demonstrates we have a long way to go."

"I think it's also necessary to make sure our elections meet the highest national standards," said the New York senator.


In addition to creating a federal holiday for voting, the bill would:

_Require paper receipts for votes.

_Authorize $500 million to help states make the changes in voting systems and equipment.

_Allow ex-felons to vote. Currently an estimated 4.7 million Americans are barred from voting because of their criminal records.

_Require adoption of the changes in time for the 2006 election.

In particular, I support giving ex-felons the right to vote. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, if you're 18, a citizen, and not currently in jail, you should be eligible. There are many reasons why I feel this way.

First of all, it would eliminate the kind of shenanigans we've seen with "cleansing" voter rolls. The potential for abuse is too great, as is the potential to get screwed by having the bad luck to share a similar name with a crook. I presume the CEVA does not go as far as I would advocate, so there will still be potential for abuse, but this is at least a step in the right direction.

Second, one of the many bad effects of the War On Drugs is the felonization of more and more activity. Losing the right to vote for the rest of one's life is too high a price to exact for many of these. And let's face facts here: by a wide margin, this disproportionately affects blacks. Restoring some perspective in the criminal justice system is certainly needed, but in the meantime I'll settle for restoring voting rights to people who should not have lost them.

Finally, I believe that a base level of civil rights should be uniform throughout the country. Losing the right to vote (or not) based on prior bad acts should not be a function of where you committed those bad acts. This is why federal action is needed.

Via Greg.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 21, 2005 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Around here, until you've paid your debt to society you can only be on the ballot.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on February 21, 2005 12:29 PM

I'd support restoring voting rights for any non-coercive felony convictions. (By non-coercive, I mean things like drug convictions. Murder, kidnapping, etc. are a different case.)

Though I'd much rather see anything non-coercive be reduced from felony to misdemeanor, or even legalized. The problem isn't the voting laws as much as it is the laws themselves.

Posted by: Kathy K on February 21, 2005 7:11 PM

I see that the Candidate Hillary meme is going strong. She's the favored Democratic candidate of op-ed columnists and wingnuts, which is precisely why she shouldn't be, and, since she's a smart woman, I have to believe isn't, considering running.

Posted by: Greg Morrow on February 22, 2005 9:32 AM