Letters to the Editor

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VOTING: Grant felons the right to vote

Letter by Samuel Merrill, Olympia on July 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm with 22 Comments »
July 6, 2010 10:28 am

Re: “’The New Jim Crow’ a must-read on injustice in America” (Leonard Pitts Jr. column, 6-27).

This column relates to a prominent issue in Washington state.

In her new book, “The New Jim Crow,” Michelle Alexander shows that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses is out of all proportion to the number of crimes committed by racial groups. The National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse report similar percentages of blacks and whites as current users of illegal drugs and suggest the same is true for those selling drugs, yet black incarceration rates in Washington state are six time those for non-Hispanic whites.

As a consequence of this racial imbalance, Alexander contends, laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting constitute a new racial caste system likened to the segregation of the Jim Crow era.

With regard to voting, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reached the same conclusion, ruling that because of racial bias pervading our state’s criminal justice system, felons in Washington may no longer be denied the right to vote.

It will take many years to undo racial discrimination in the criminal justice system in Washington and other states. Granting the right to vote to felons, as is now done in Maine and Vermont, would be a first step towards dismantling mass incarceration with its devastating impact on communities of color in Washington state.

Leave a comment Comments → 22
  1. Yo Sammy !

    Yu rightin this from Shelton, or Olympia ?

  2. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Forget it!! Lets just let those continue to vote who have managed to not be burdens to the law abiding members of society!

  3. Pat_riot says:

    Once you commit a crime.. in essence interfering on other peoples inalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.. your forgo your un-inalienable right of voting. I can’t believe someone would think otherwise unless they’re sick in the head or a politician hoping to gain a few votes out of it for some reason.. but politicians are sick in the head themselves for the most part so I guess that is the only way someone could think otherwise.

  4. The dems are scraping around trying to find as many voters as possible. They’ve already managed to register thousands and thousands of illegal voters,thanks to the untiring efforts of ACORN and other corrupt organizations. The big push to legalize illegals so that they can be added to the roster of sheep for the dems. When are they going to be satisfied that the bottom of the barrel has been scraped clean?

  5. penumbrage says:

    If restoring inmate voting rights (before full completion of their sentence) is simply compensation for past racism, then do the white prisoners only get 1/2 a vote (and KKK convicts none at all) or is this simply a new and dangerous form of gerrymandering?
    The Survey of State Prison Inmates says 65% would vote Democrat, and with about 7 million incarcerated, on parole, on probation or otherwise not having fulfilled their conditions of release, those extra 2+ million votes must look awfully tempting to a party that millions of swing voters are rapidly swinging away from.

  6. Concernedfather says:

    Yo, why we dun gotsa take dare gat?
    Perhaps it is unconsttutional to take away their “right to bare arms” as well?
    Prison is a SOCIAL caste system, not RACIAL.

    The lame arguement that equal numbers of blacks and white using illegal drugs should result in equal numbers of each group arrested is seriously flawed thinking. It is the overall behavior of each individual that increases risk of arrest. The actions of the individual user determines the risk of arrest.

    Can you show us where the number of arrest are equal, and the conviction rates are skewed? That would be a more plausible arguement. (given simular backgrounds & police records)

    I would be more concerned with the fact that a minority group has a substance problem in equal numbers to a majority group. It would indicate that the minority group has a much higher instance of abuse; therefore one would expect a high number of incarceration.

    If you want to bemoan the inequity of a situation, first you need to prove that all things start out on an equal plane. Both study groups had the same criminal background, were productive members of society, showed remorse for their actions, etc. All these things are factors in court, no matter the color of the defendants skin.

  7. Concernedfather says:

    Alexander contends, laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting constitute a new racial caste system likened to the segregation of the Jim Crow era.

    Therefore, we should not discriminate against sexual preditors working with our children either? Is that job discrimination?

    Maybe we should quit taking away drivers licenses from drunk drivers too?
    What a rational concept.

  8. blakeshouse says:

    When the country is going to hell like it is under this socialist/marxist regime, Anything is fair game. These idiots have to try and get what they can prior to Nov because they know it is over after that. Only gives them a few months to try and ruin this once great country even more than it has been already.

  9. donjames says:

    penumbrage,

    Combine 2+ million felons with 20 million illegals and you have the makings of democrat one-party rule in perpetuity.

  10. Blakeshouse statement was so great and true, I had to repost it ! “When the country is going to hell like it is under this socialist/marxist regime, Anything is fair game. These idiots have to try and get what they can prior to Nov because they know it is over after that. Only gives them a few months to try and ruin this once great country even more than it has been already.” November can’t get here soon enough !!!!

  11. Frosty’s comment was also dead-nutz on the money it was worth re-posting as well. ” The dems are scraping around trying to find as many voters as possible. They’ve already managed to register thousands and thousands of illegal voters,thanks to the untiring efforts of ACORN and other corrupt organizations. The big push to legalize illegals so that they can be added to the roster of sheep for the dems. When are they going to be satisfied that the bottom of the barrel has been scraped clean?”

  12. Sumner401 says:

    And they say the Democrats are the party of hate.

  13. They are. And intolerance.

  14. 9th “circus” LOL.

  15. tommy98466 says:

    Lets see… Jim Crow laws established by slave owning democrats. hummmm. Pathetic article.

  16. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Sumner401 – FYI, that would be the socialist democrats being the anti-American party of hate – the conservative members of society represent the majority of patriotic Americans concerned for their countries future!!

  17. Sumner401 says:

    Read the comments here pigshouse, they and yours are filled with hate, which makes your post down right dishonest at best.

  18. Fibonacci says:

    Why is it that the ultro right can’t read? This article is about felons getting the right to vote, not about their whack job theories about socialist/marxists. God, can’t you guys EVER stick to the subject?

    NO ONE on here is as filled with hate and bile as 3rdpigshouse. If his typle ever was in charge of this country it would be like some third world dictatorship. And to think that they actually believe they are patriotic, when they are the farthest thing from it.

  19. nwcolorist says:

    No, Fibonacci, this has a lot more to do with just getting poor felons the right to vote. This is about getting political power for the Left. The criminals are just pawns in the bigger game.

  20. I say that the ONLY people who should be allowed to vote are property owners!

  21. I’m not sure that I agree with the underlying premise that released felons will necessarily vote Democratic, none the less, the issue of granting felons the right to vote shouldn’t be based on which political party will benefit.

    I don’t care if felons get to vote or not, but I don’t see any harm in it.

  22. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Mudbone – that makes too much sense!! Those on the public teet will be offended!!

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