February 13, 2014

Holder Wants Felons Voting

Naturally, the proposal is entirely for Democrats’ political gain.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s job at the InJustice Department seems to include provoking racial tension through hate crime hoaxes, suppressing conservative votes, running illegal guns to Mexico and generally trampling Rule of Law. Along those lines, Holder told a civil rights conference Tuesday that the practice of disenfranchising convicted felons is “profoundly outdated,” and state laws that prohibit felons from voting “defy the principles of accountability and rehabilitation that guide our criminal justice policies.” Furthermore, he said, “By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.”

We should point out that conservatives such as Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) also favor reforming these laws. As Paul said in September, “[T]he punishment and stigma continues for the rest of their life, harming their families and hampering their ability to re-enter society.” There is merit to reform of our criminal justice system on this and other matters such as mandatory minimum sentencing. Perhaps on a case-by-case basis, voting rights could be restored after some benchmark is met.

Yet Holder’s reasons for pushing reform are entirely political. He insisted on automatic restoration of voting rights upon completing a sentence. But The New York Times, editorializing in defense of Holder, gave away the game. According to the Times, “The brunt of today’s laws that prohibit felons from voting still falls disproportionately on minorities, who make up more than one-third of those affected.” To paraphrase, “That’s racist.” Of course, the reason minorities are so affected is because minorities commit a disproportionate number of felonies.

It also so happens that minorities vote disproportionately for Democrats. Again, the Times tacitly acknowledges the politics: “While George W. Bush won Florida by 537 votes in 2000, more than 800,000 Floridians with criminal records were barred from voting.” In other words, the only reason Bush won was because all those Democrats couldn’t vote. And today, more than 20% of blacks in several swing states can’t vote. But then the Times argues, “Regardless of which party might benefit most at the polls, repealing felon disenfranchisement laws is in the interest of upholding American ideals.” Aside from the laughable idea that they don’t care which party benefits, which American ideals, exactly, would this idea uphold?

As an aside, we’re sure Holder supports restoring other rights to felons, such as owning a firearm.

If someone has proven they can’t follow the law – in some cases violently so – can they be trusted to vote for those who will make the law? Sadly, in an America where the president rewrites the law on a whim, the answer may not really matter … but it’s still worth fighting for.

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