It’s an atavism, a vicious one. Many of our states continue perpetually to punish ex-convicts who have, as the American ideal runs, served their debt to society. That is, after they are out of prison, not on parole and not on probation, they still can’t vote. In 11 states, that is permanent.
The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is on the case. He has been speaking on the irrationality and counterproductive nature of such laws. For great background, check his speech last week on reforming criminal justice here. In it, he draws heavily on a report from The Leadership Conference, which you can see here.
Among the must-know findings are that 5.8 million Americans are thus disenfranchised. They are three times more likely to re-offend (33% in contrast to 11% for those allowed to vote after prison). The United States is the only democracy that follows this inane throwback policy.
Today, we ran down the basics, discussed the Democracy Restoration Act, itself imprisoned in a U.S. House committee since 2012, and suggested direct involvement. Learn a bit from these sources linked. Tweet or blog your thoughts. Contact your U.S. Rep. and maybe Senators. This bill could use some sponsors and visibility.
Otherwise, for near-term podcasts, we’re roping in some more MA gubernatorial candidates. Watch this blog for notices. Also, if you want more direct contact, consider the Suffolk Law Rappaport Center’s lunch roundtables with the candidates, which you can sign up to attend here.