Civil Liberties

Putting the "Blunt" in Blunt

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Alabama, like a lot of states (especially in the South) bars certain convicted felons from ever voting again. Which kind of felons? According to state law, those who committed crimes exuding a certain "moral turpitude." What puts the turp in the perp's 'tude? According to the New York Times, the list begins with "Murder, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, incest, sexual torture and nine other crimes mainly involving pornography and abuses against children," but then in 2005 was expanded by Alabama Attorney General Troy King to include what the American Civil Liberties has just discovered is the following:

about a dozen additional offenses, most of them nonviolent, and several including the sale of marijuana.

There are now more than 5 million Americans who cannot vote because of felony convictions, a state of affairs that tempts me to use the phrase "so-called" in front of "democracy." I weighed in on behalf of anti-disenfranchisementism back in 2003.

Hat tip to Alan Vanneman.

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  1. What puts the turp in the perp’s ‘tude?

    Courage?

  2. There are now more than 5 million Americans who cannot vote because of felony convictions, a state of affairs that tempts me to use the phrase “so-called” in front of “democacy.”

    I would point out that Democracy is misspelled, but we live in a representative republic…

  3. What about the 75 million Americans who can’t vote because of their age? Why don’t you put “so-called” in front of democracy on their account?

  4. about a dozen additional offenses, most of them nonviolent, and several including the sale of marijuana.

    What was that other thread whether we libertarians were winning or losing? What say you now?

  5. I’m quite sure that there is no relationship between this and the racially skewed arrest and incarceration rates for marijuana possession.

  6. And Rimfax beats me to it. 🙂
    JMR

  7. What puts the turp in the perp’s ‘tude?
    HA!

    about a dozen additional offenses, most of them nonviolent, and several including the sale of marijuana.

    The way I read that, is that in addition to the mostly nonviolent offenses there are several (violent?) offenses, which all include the sale of marijuana.

  8. Good, that’s 5m down. Now how do we get rid of the rest of the people that shouldn’t be voting?

  9. hmmm, so that is how you bring about the demise of democracy in the U.S.:
    Pass enough laws where everyone is arrested, convicted and incarcerated for sometype of “crime”, then take away their right to vote… well, it’s a plan.

  10. Gee…I didn’t expect that from such a progressive state like Alabama. Did any of you?

    Don’t 4-get … this is the same state of
    Bull Connor — chief of police and kkk member.
    George Wallice — the governor of the state that stood in front of Alabama State University aand said that No Negros should go to this college.

    Keep Dope Alive

  11. Felons should get two votes. After all, the laws affect them more than your average voter, no?

  12. Why should convicted felons be allowed to vote?

  13. They can still run for office.

  14. “Don’t 4-get … this is the same state of
    Bull Connor — chief of police and kkk member.
    George Wallice — the governor of the state that stood in front of Alabama State University aand said that No Negros should go to this college.”

    Given that all of this shit happened decades ago, perhaps in the interest of progress, you should simply let it go.

  15. Why should convicted felons be allowed to vote?

    Why shouldn’t they?

    I can see why you might not want people in prison serving sentences be given the right to vote, but why on earth, once someone is released should they not be allowed to vote?

    Just because someone committed a felony they should never be able to vote ? Why is that?

  16. “They can still run for office.”

    And minors are permitted to work in bars as long as they don’t consume alcohol. So what’s your point?

  17. “I can see why you might not want people in prison serving sentences be given the right to vote, but why on earth, once someone is released should they not be allowed to vote?”

    ’cause it’s the law?

  18. “…’cause it’s the law?”

    I’m not completely familiar with the rules, but I believe this calls for a DRINK!
    (It’s 5 pm, so I am having a drink either way)

  19. Look, if a guy can get in front of the camera and confess to FISA violations and torture, and still get to be President, I don’t see why a felon shouldn’t be able to go in and punch his chad for that torturer. It’s the American way.

  20. Hope, hope . . . it is obvious that incremental change is underway. At the state and local level, laws are being liberalized and it’s only a matter of time until this incrementalism reaches the federal level.
    We’ve already won the intellectual-legal debate, and lawmakers, while progressively more amenable to the righteousness of the cause, are still behind the people on this.
    It will happen eventually . . .

  21. If they’ve done their time, including parole, felons should be welcomed back into society. That means full rights including voting and those pesky second amendment ones.

    I’m a bleeding heart liberal that way.

  22. Just because someone committed a felony they should never be able to vote ? Why is that?

    Because former felons tend to vote heavily Democratic?

    Not saying it’s a GOOD reason — agree with J sub D @ 6:16pm — just saying it’s THE reason for virtually every ballot-access limiting laws — consolidating the political power of whichever party currently holds the majority.

  23. That means full rights including voting and those pesky second amendment ones.

    What about the rights of that little girl?

  24. prolefeed,

    Weren’t laws preventing felons from voting on the books long before the parties took their current positions on the ideological spectrum? As recently as the 1920s, the Republicans were the liberal party.

  25. Ya, so, if you have been abused by the minions of the “War on Drugs” you lose your ability to vote against it and the pols that support it. Sweeeet.

  26. That means full rights including voting and those pesky second amendment ones.

    What about the rights of that little girl?

    After they’ve done their time, little girl felons get to keep their rights as well.

  27. By all means, let us have ex-cons become a vital voting bloc in this country. Because hey, we don’t already have enough people with little or no judgment deciding who is going to govern us. I know that when an election is close there is no other person I want casting the crucial deciding vote than a criminal.

  28. Good argument B. I like the total lack of hysterics, not to mention logic. Next go-around let’s have an IQ test for voting rights. Or maybe a completely clean criminal record.

  29. zoltan-

    Next go-around let’s have an IQ test for voting rights. Or maybe a completely clean criminal record.

    I agree 100%!

    If I were on the Supreme Court, there would also be a $10,000.00 poll tax per vote– (vote early… and as often as you wish to pay!).

    No representation without taxation.

  30. Our European felons vote even in prison. There is no logic behind that you ban someone from voting. They are still part of the society.

    for Alabama: were not convicted of any of the following crimes: “production or possession of obscene matter” … so if you have pornography on your computer (and you are caught), you shouldn’t vote?! True democracy.

  31. “murder, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, incest, sexual torture and nine other crimes mainly involving pornography and abuses against children”

    Anyone else notice there is a non-crime on this list? I’ve only gone in the out with a couple women. I don’t feel like a criminal. Should I? They liked it. Or at least I think they they liked it. Well, they didn’t tell me not to do it again. I wasn’t planning on moving to Alabama anyway.

  32. SkipEU

    Our European felons vote even in prison.

    230 years later- and you ‘cowardly weaklings’ still can not understand why we think differently.

    “The cowards never came and the weaklings died on the way.”– R. A. Heinlein

  33. If Felons represent a great enough portion of the population to negatively affect the outcome of an election, there is a good chance there are too many activities being classified as felonies.

    That said, felons vote for Democrats.

    Damn, this is a tough one.

  34. I prefer not to look at the right to vote as sacrosanct, because it isn’t. That said, I would have to see who these pot smokers were voting for, and who those people were voting against, before actually endorsing the disenfranchisement. Just to piss off the democracy fetishists here, I think that it should be legal to buy voting rights from people for certain elections.

  35. Democracy: That system wherein any two uninformed people are explicitly given the unchecked, unqualified power to outvote any single informed person.

    USA: That country wherein the status quo is guaranteed to remain such that uninformed people outnumber informed people by many orders of magnitude.

    Representative Democratic Republic: That system which operates in miniature under all of the characteristics of a Democracy, but has far fewer votes to count and therefore vastly magnifies the power, though not the quality, of each vote, and in so doing, allows the precise focus of powers external to the system (PACs, corporations, the rich) upon those votes.

    Fall of Society: That thing which inevitably happens when the ruling class of a society have been allowed to jam things up so long and so badly that the society ceases to be able to operate. For further details, refer to your daily news source.

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