In many states, felony disenfranchisement laws are still on the books. And the current scope of these policies is not only too significant to ignore — it is also too unjust to tolerate.
These laws deserve to be not only reconsidered, but repealed.
So is shorter AG “I heart ex-cons”? Nope. It’s not that the chief law enforcement officer has a soft spot for criminals. Rather his concern (once again!) is for “his people.” In his spiel, he notes that 38% of the 5.8 million Americans who can’t vote because of current or previous felony convictions are black.
Although well over a century has passed since post-Reconstruction states used these measures to strip African Americans of their most fundamental rights, the impact of felony disenfranchisement on modern communities of color remains both disproportionate and unacceptable.
Whenever we tell citizens who have paid their debts and rejoined their communities that they are not entitled to take part in the democratic process, we fall short of the bedrock promise — of equal opportunity and equal justice — that has always served as the foundation of our legal system. So it's time to renew our commitment — here and now — to the notion that the free exercise of our fundamental rights should never be subject to politics, or geography, or the lingering effects of flawed and unjust policies.
A problem Holder seems willing to overlook is the high recidivism rate among blacks. Within 3 years after their release, almost 7 out of 10 black males go back to prison. Consider also the sorts of people who influence their life choices and beliefs while they’re incarcerated. It’s not as though they are being molded into conscientious and responsible members of society during their time in stir.
Maybe one of the reasons Holder militates in favor of giving the vote to ex-cons is that he anticipates a stint in the big house time in his future.
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