Roy Moore

Roy Moore Sees Restoration of Voting Rights of Felons as a Plot Against Him

A law signed by Alabama's Republican governor allows many ex-cons to return to the ballot box.

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Part of the get-out-the-vote campaign for the special Senate election in Alabama includes a push to get felons freed from prison registered again so they can cast a ballot on December 12.

When AL.com reported on a pastor who claims to have gotten thousands of felons registered to vote before a deadline that passed earlier this week, here's how GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore responded:

The organization involved is actually a religious nonprofit involved in things like soup kitchens, adult literacy classes, and youth programs.

What's actually happening here is that Alabama, back in May, passed a law that allowed more felons to regain the right to vote after they've been released from prison. It was backed by both GOP-controlled halves of the state legislature and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.

Alabama law strips voting rights from citizens convicted of felonies "of moral turpitude." But the state didn't clearly define what it meant by "moral turpitude," instead listing five offenses that specifically did not count. The new law, dubbed the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act, lists all the crimes—more than 40—that are bad enough that offenders will lose their vote. It hits all the major felonies: murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, etc. (Also, "enticing a child to enter a vehicle, house, etc., for immoral purposes." Just making note of that, given the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.)

In short, the restoration of these felons' voting rights is not about Moore at all. It's about bringing people who have done their time and moved on with their lives back into a role as contributing members of society.

There's no reason these people shouldn't have their rights restored—no reason, at least, that isn't fundamentally bound up with a candidate or party's political concerns. Moore's tweet doesn't make a coherent argument about why these felons shouldn't have their voting rights restored. He cares only that they might vote for his opponent. This, somehow, is supposed to be an inherent outrage.

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  1. There is a gigantic reason for not allowing some people to vote: they don’t pay taxes.
    Remember all of the fuss about taxation without representation?
    What we need now is no representation without taxation.

    1. Which is another way of saying libertarians want to get rid of representation.

      1. I mean, to a big extent I do.

        1. Because you know best how other people should live?

          1. Whoosh …..

    2. Does that mean those people are exempt from the rest of the law? If all the government did was set tax rates and distribute money that might be a convincing argument. It’s also a great incentive for a political party to set tax rates in a way that disenfranchises the opposing party’s base, which I’m sure would never be abused at all.

    3. People don’t get to choose whether they’re taxed except via the democratic process, and the point of democracy is not to represent the interests of those with money, but to represent the interests of those who are governed, and that’s everybody.

      Give me one good reason why even people currently serving time in prison shoudln’t be able to vote.

      1. It’s an interesting question, right? What rights does a person lose in prison? On one hand my instincts go to the extreme, and say no rights should be abrogated in prison. That just means I don’t believe in prisons though to an extent. Since they are at they very concept about removing rights as punishment.

        I actually have no good reason why they shouldn’t be able to vote. I would tend to believe they should be able to vote. That being said, I have no reason as to why that right is one right that shouldn’t be taken away in prison.

        1. Now I’m thinking about this further. What rights are we allowed to take from people convicted of crimes?

          At one end, some say everything. That would be the death penalty (though I would guess many death penalty advocates would not call for, say, torturing the person to death).
          At one end, we can say nothing. This effectively leads to prison not existing.

          What aspect of our political philosophy allows for someone to have their rights taken away. I believe a purely libertarian stance would say violations of NAP are the person giving up their own rights. But even that, what is the purpose of the punishment that comes after?

          This goes back to something I’ve wondered about before. There is a very distinct cut in how people view crime and punishment. The biggest divide is rehabilitation versus punishment as a way to enact justice. Even within those frameworks though, I don’t know if I’ve seen arguments as to why we can justify force against the criminal, and both sides of this argument still fall upon force to enforce the laws.

          I think I’m spinning in circles here.

          1. The biggest divide is rehabilitation versus punishment as a way to enact justice.

            And the compromises that go along with this divide are behind many of the problems we have with the justice system.

            The notion of sitting in prison as a the consequence for a crime versus being flogged or killed was, IIRC, originally a Quaker idea based on the notion that all people are inherently good, and that time spent alone in silent reflection would reform the criminal’s character.

            Unfortunately, you also have the deep-seated human drive for vengeance, which in many ways is what the justice system is really about. Just consider how often we’re told that victims are somehow harmed if they don’t see harm come to the perpetrator.

            What you wind up with is a “correctional system” that’s made to be as punishing as the vengeance-minding can get the reform-minded to allow it to be, such that it ultimately serves neither purpose. Or conversely, a punishment-system that is as soft on the convicts as the reform-minded can get the vengeance-minded to allow it to be. Same difference.

            1. That’s an interesting observation. I do believe that Justice as punishment is inescapable. That is not a logical stance, it is far deeper. That’s one of those gut reactions humans have deep in our instincts and those are the hardest to escape, if that is even something we wish to escape.

              One thing your post made me wonder is this. Traditionally it seems prisons existed either as debtors prisons, or holding cells in preparation for trial, or holding cells in preparation for execution. Maybe that’s an entirely incorrect perception, but long term detention seems to have been less common on average traditionally. I wonder if the less frequent death penalty has the affect of making people more open to prison for petty offenses. It becomes out of sight out of mind, without the messy thought that a law you argue for will very likely end in death.

              Probably not true, just a thought though.

        2. My reason is that if anyone has a stake in the makeup of government, it’s prisoners of that government. Practically speaking, it’s not like our criminal justice system is in danger of being too lenient any time soon, so let them vote and maybe actually bring some sanity back to the system.

          I am also fairly radical on this. I don’t think we should punish at all. Separate people from the population for the sake of public safety. Require restitution in some form. But there’s obviously little evidence that our Kafkaesque methods produce a better society.

          1. Retribution is the only legitimate purpose of incarceration. One of CS Lewis’ best essays was the Humanitarian Theory of Punishment – http://www.angelfire.com/pro/l…..arian.html – where he outlined the case against both deterrence and rehabilitation. With the little gem – Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

            1. An insightful sentiment, including the implication that the only other option is rule by robber barons, which he mistakenly and cynically views as the preferable option. I would think rehabilitative justice is simply on the lenient end of the possible options. Beyond is anarchy. I would certainly entertain even more humanitarian options if I were to discover what those were. Surely Nordic-style criminal justice, say, is preferable to being ruled by people whose power, unchecked, derives from their money, even if they “virtuously” are capricious in that rule.

          2. As for ‘let them vote and maybe actually bring some sanity back to the system.’ Voting can lead only to oligarchy. That was the argument between Athens and Sparta back in their day as written about by Aristotle – and it is just as true today.

            Sparta had elections and the result was the entrenchment of an oligarchy that was best able to manipulate the majority of voters. Power to the most effective sociopath.

            Athens had sortition – random selection of citizens who then formed the actual assembly/magistracy. Of course, Athens had the capability to self-manage an assembly of 6000 people. We can’t apparently manage an assembly of 435.

            1. There was no ancient republic that remotely resembled a system of universal suffrage, so perhaps just as we might extend the franchise to prisoners to delay the oligarchy, they might have extended it to women and slaves.

      2. …and the point of democracy is not to represent the interests of those with money…

        Democracy is nothing of the sort. Truly Democratic principles have no regard for monetary wealth as that would be self-contradictory to what democracy is in the first place. Your stated vision of democracy is just as un-Democratic as plutocracy.

  2. Wait, Roy Moore is running against Dougie Jones?

  3. Anyone who commits a felony has relinquished their right to vote.

    Don’t Libertarians care about the rule of law?

    1. You do realize that there are all sorts of completely victimless “crimes” that are classed as felonies, right?

      Seems to me that it’s a bit disingenuous on the part of government to go after people for things like pot-smoking, prostitution, and (doubtlessly-coming-soon) “hate speech” and then preventing those people from participating in future voting that could decriminalize all of that.

      I don’t like such disenfranchisement efforts for the same reason I don’t like the death penalty: government already has waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much power. It needs to be brought down a peg (or a dozen) — not given still more power.

    2. What part of restoring rights after the citizen has served their time count as a violation of the rule of law?

      1. The law is the law, and the law says that felons relinquished their right to vote, therefore changing that law violates the rule of law. Also, most felons are libs.

        Duh fuckin’ doy.

        1. You can’t be serious, Crusty.

          So when Prohibition was the law, changing that law to repeal Prohibition violated the rule of law, right?

          1. You can’t be serious, Crusty.

            I think you might be onto something.

        2. You need to add back your “Lawbertarian” title. Seems that people are forgetting that they’re dealing with a real life Judge.

          1. I mean, I can troll and I am well-known for being an idiot – it just goes to show you how sad our new trolls are.

            1. Crusty once placed an entire high rise under citizen’s arrest when someone in the bodega on the bottom floor took 2 pennies from the take a penny.

        3. IS there a law that says convicted felons can’t vote? Federal or in all or some states? I know that in Puerto Rico, for instance, convicted felons can vote even when they are IN jail. (And they usually vote for the “conservative” party)

    3. Anyone who commits a felony has relinquished their right to vote.

      Probably everyone in the US has committed multiple felonies. They just have a much greater chance of getting caught/convicted if they aren’t well-connected.

  4. Let’s be honest though. Convicted felons are overwhelming Democratic voters. That’s why Dems push for voting rights and Republicans resist. There’s no principles here involved.

    1. It was backed by both GOP-controlled halves of the state legislature and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.

      Bunch of cucks, I guess.

      1. That always obviously true.

    2. A religious group helping to bring ex-convicts back into civil society? But they’re on the other team, aren’t they, so fuck them.

    3. I’m going to take a guess and say that convicted felons are overwhelmingly non-voters, even when they aren’t stripped of the right to vote.

      1. I’d wager that as well.

    4. Or, there is a principled position on the matter, and if it happens to benefit Democrats, maybe the question is what’s wrong with Republicans?

  5. Roy Moore must be one of those Real Christians who doesn’t believe in forgiveness.

    1. Yeah, he probably thinks Jesus was a cuck who was way too soft on all the lowlifes who flocked around him. (Except for tax collectors — I’m sure every politician loves tax collectors.)

    2. He thinks he is practically Jesus, especially the little children coming onto him part.

    3. Forgiveness doesn’t imply lack of consequences for your actions.

  6. Felon voting rights should be an issue that gets more attention, I think. I did some quick Googling and found this Slate piece which is fairly informative. This sentence in particular jumped out at me: There are two states that currently afford prison inmates the right to vote while in confinement: Maine and Vermont.

    The Maine / Vermont policy seems like the most logical one. I’d like to see all 50 states establish voting for prison inmates.

    1. Me too.

      And it might boost the votes for libertarian candidates, considering all the inmates who are there for stuff that, in a libertarian society, wouldn’t be considered a criminal offense in the first place.

      1. Or it might boost votes for the candidate supported by the prison worker’s union.

  7. BREAKING: Democrat operatives in Alabama are REGISTERING THOUSANDS OF FELONS all across the state in an effort to swing the US Senate election to Doug Jones!

    Somehow I think “FELONS” is a codeword for the group of people Moore is actually concerned about voting.

    1. And he makes it sound like some sinister plot of questionable legality rather than an ordinary “get out the vote” thing such as happens for every election.

      1. Who’d a thunk that “an ordinary “get out the vote” had such a focus on felons. Filling a badly neglected get out the vote niche?

        One should question the intelligence of supporting engagement in actively soliciting people, felons or not, to register to vote. If they are too stupid or unmotivated to do it themselves then it is best they not participate in a proxy voting scheme. All votes are not equal in value. Just like the ballots from a car trunk.

        “The organization involved is actually a religious nonprofit involved in things like soup kitchens, adult literacy classes, and youth programs.”

        And would the source of funding for this group’s programs be coming from Soros or goobermint? It is difficult to believe that the Ordinary People Society would be able to accomplish all those feats through its membership fee and donations from ordinary people alone. Well, at least their website claims it is a “legitimate” non-profit so one can be sure there is no vote steering from the group.

    2. Democrat voters? You might be on to something.

      But I’m sure what you meant was something stupid about black voices/bodies.

      1. The adjective form is “Democratic” you fucking hillbilly.

        1. “Democratic voters” is redundant, because voting is democratic by definition. That would be ambiguous. The only way to disambiguate would be capitalizing the D, but since it was at the beginning of a sentence, it would still be ambiguous.

          Some of us like to be precise in our language for that reason. Fucking hillbilly, for example, isn’t a very precise term for an office-working suburb-dweller. But you couldn’t have known that. Another important part of speaking precisely is only making assertions that you have evidence for. When you make a pattern of unsupported assertions, people will rightfully start assuming you’re full of shit, or maybe just brain damaged.

          Hope this helps.

          1. The capital D suffices to distinguish between the word and the party, thanks, as at any rate your form is simply incorrect and makes you sound like you let Frank Luntz do all your thinking for you via some interchangeable fat raping talking head or neo-Nazi from the Internet.

          2. And besides, you don’t say “Republic voters” do you? What about the insurmountable ambiguity between the proper and nonproper nouns??

  8. All the news that’s fit to tweet.

  9. Who knows more about moral turpitude than Moore?

  10. It’s so weird how Reason wasn’t full of articles about Republicans restoring felons voting rights the way they were over Democrats restoring felons voting rights.

    Wonder why that was.

    So, Moore thinks this is weaponized registration?

    “Part of the get-out-the-vote campaign for the special Senate election in Alabama includes a push to get felons freed from prison registered again so they can cast a ballot on December 12.”

    Well, that’s because it IS.

    1. What? I can recall some articles advocating for restoring felons’ voting rights, but none that were specifically about Democrats restoring voting rights (whatever that even means).

      1. Ah, Sir Crusty, flatulating in on it’s oft-screwed white nag, with yet more fecal matter dribbling from it’s bony chin in lieu of actual thought.

        The heightened registration is most definitely aimed at Moore–and so what? Why is it so important for you feebs to deny reality?

        Zeb, there were articles about restoring felons voting rights, and articles about this or that Democrat bravely trying to do it–often in the face of Republican opposition.

        But zero articles about Republicans doing it–particularly Republicans in Alabama.

        1. That’s because this bill was about the definition of “moral turpitude” in the state constitution:

          “No person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude…shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil and political rights…”

          Without a bill, the issue would be litigated case by case. With this bill (if the courts accept it) there’s a list for government officials to consult to find out which felonies are or aren’t covered.

          People voting for this bill need not be motivated by pro-felon-voting convictions, but by a desire to give guidance to election officials and courts.

  11. From the article Moore linked to:

    “AL.com tagged along with Glasgow earlier this year as he helped register a felon at Dothan City Jail to vote.

    “Spencer Trawick lost the franchise in 2015 when he was convicted of third-degree burglary, a felony. But Glasgow informed Trawick in June – while he was still incarcerated at the Dothan jail – that he was able to regain his voting rights due to the passage of the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act. And Trawick went ahead that same day and filled out the required registration forms as Glasgow watched.”

  12. OK, here is the relevant part of the Alabama constitution:

    “No person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude, or who is mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil and political rights or removal of disability.”

    1. So… mentally incompetent turps can’t vote, but running for office is OK?

      1. In the 19th Century, women could run for office, but not vote.

        1. And once we gave them the vote, we forced them into a zero-sum game by freezing the size of the legislature.

          1916 – 18.5 million voters in Prez election – 435 legislators
          2016 – 136.7 million voters in Prez election – 435 legislators

  13. Alabama is weird.

    In most states, if you’re a convicted felon, you can’t vote during your sentence (prison, probation, parole), then after your sentence is over you can re-register.

    Alabama seems to be all or nothing – either you can’t vote at all after conviction, or you can vote even in prison, depending on the felony.

    Can any Alabamanians set me straight if I got it wrong?

    1. 10 states: Ex-felons may lose vote permanently

      20 states: Vote restored after prison term, parole, and probation

      4 states: Vote restored after prison term and parole

      14 states & DC: Vote restored after prison term

      2 states: May vote from prison

      Alabama – Some people convicted of a felony may apply to have their vote restored immediately upon completion of their full sentence. Those convicted of certain felony offenses such as murder, rape, incest, sexual crime against children, and treason are not eligible for re-enfranchisement.

      Emphasis added.

      1. Make special note of one of the crimes which may result in permanent disenfranchisement in The Yellowhammer State.

  14. I like it! The thing is a laboratory demonstration of how spoiler votes operate to change laws. Mystical bigots are, of course, impervious to reason, but their fellow travelers have an appetite for other people’s money. Every time an alliance with George Wallace ku-klux-clones drag the symbiote party to disaster, the party in error learns to avoid the bigots and their planks. These freedmen are working much the way a libertarian party works to change laws.

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