One of the great aspects of the United States Judicial System is that when one has served their sentence, followed the rules of their parole or probation, the person is left to work on improving their lives and basically are given a new lease on life. They are allowed to seek employment, go to school, seek a driver’s license, if not suspended, and become a tax paying citizen of the United States. So voting shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong.
Ten states have laws which strip convicted felons of ever getting their right to vote again. States such as Iowa, Florida and Kentucky have such laws on their books. In Virginia though, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a new law in effect in April, 2016 that allowed more than 200,000 convicted felons to finally be able to cast their ballots this November.
Governor McAuliffe, a Democrat, stated that his reasons for allowing convicted felons to vote was simple, “I want you back in society,” he said of ex-convicts. “I want you voting, getting a job, paying taxes.” Republicans, though, balked at the idea. They countered that “The singular purpose of Terry McAuliffe’s governorship is to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States,”
You may ask how does the vote of convicted felons end with the election of Hillary Clinton as President? The theory is a pretty strong one. Most prisons today are comprised of African Americans and Hispanics who make up 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population. According to statistics, a majority of minorities make up the Democratic voters. So Republicans have always shot down and fought the rights of those who have served in prison and convicted of a felony to ever get their right to vote again.
In a country which has voter’s act which make it illegal for discriminate against women, African Americans and all other American citizens the right to vote. Yet, we will deny it to those who have served their time, paid their tabs and pay taxes to their country but many states say nope, not you. You made a mistake that even when you have paid your debt you still don’t get a say in your country. It is unfair and un-American.
In this Presidential season, ads hit voters with a message of how important just one vote is. It should be important enough for all Americans to be able to cast their vote even if they made a mistake but paid for it through prison, parole, probation and fines. The right to vote in our nation should be possess by all Americans who are of age and are freed from their term of punishment.
They say that prison is not just for punishment but for reforming those who committed crimes. Is there any better way of telling someone they are an important part of the community than by giving them a say through the ability to vote?
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