February 02, 2007
The party of robbers, rapists and killers

Democrats in the legislature, joined by Sam Reed, seek to restore voting rights to all non-incarcerated felons. This includes criminals who have served their time but still owe fines and restitution to their victims. It also includes those who haven't completed their prison time, but are out under state supervision.

Today's P-I has an article about the state's "supervision" program:

In 2004, a convicted sex offender under supervision tore through four states on a 24-day rape-and-robbery spree that ended when he shot a teenage girl and then, hours later, a gas station clerk in her 50s. The same year, another Washington felon on community release beat a young mother to death in front of her children. The list goes on.
Who wants the elected officials who oversee the supervision program to have to compete for the votes of the criminals under supervision?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at February 02, 2007 08:14 AM | Email This
Comments
1. On the one hand, felons belong to a class of people that usually doesn't vote, so what is the big deal?

On the other hand, being given the right to vote (when they never voted before) improves their sense of community and decreases their likelihood of reoffending? I think not. Only a social engineer in the Democrat party would say so.

On yet a third hand, why shouldn't taking away their right to vote (or keep it away in this case) be used as a deterrent? If they don't vote anyway, who cares?

This thing is so stupid. Aren't there any Democrats with an ounce of brains left? Yes, Sam, I am calling you a Democrat.

Posted by: swatter on February 2, 2007 08:20 AM
2. First, if felon voter lists were used accurately, we could have a different discussion. However, the history of voter felony purge lists, like Choicepoints involement in Florida, show a clear pattern of using felony voter lists to eliminate non-felons. And lots of them. In short, felon vote purges are used by the party in power to supress the vote of those in the opposition. Here's a long article on it:

http://www.gregpalast.com/a-blacklist-burning-for-bush/

Second, a bigger problem is that they let violent offenders out of prison, like the one described. Why? Could be lax laws for violent offenders, could also be prison overcrowding. Either way, if a person, under the law, has been deemed to have "paid their debt to society" then they should have their right to vote restored. Me personally, I don't believe the person you describe can pay their debt to society. But monetary penalties are nothing more than a modern day poll tax at this point.

Posted by: Gentry on February 2, 2007 08:46 AM
3. Swatter, "On yet a third hand"? While I agree with your sentiments, I'm not sure of your status as a homosapien. (Not that it matters in Puget Sound.)

Posted by: Doc-T on February 2, 2007 08:47 AM
4. Stefan, your post lacks logic. If someone has been released from prison, society has clearly decided that they are not a great risk to others. Of course some of these people commit crimes; so do some people who have never before committed crimes. But if they're not considered a particularly high risk to walk around relatively freely, work, pay taxes, etc., then are you really worried about the harm they will do by voting?

Swatter, you actually score in your own goal. All 3 of your points argue for letting ex-felons vote. Perhaps fewer ex-felons would vote than non-felons, but then it doesn't matter; all that does matter is those who would vote. How could voting not increase their sense of participation in society? And while I doubt that taking away the vote is a deterrent -- I imagine prison is more of a deterrent -- let's say you're right and it is a deterrent; therefore, once we choose to release someone from prison, wouldn't we want to restore the right to vote so that the threat of losing it would be a deterrent to reoffending?

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2007 08:54 AM
5. Oops. I have been discovered. I am a three armed alien placed on the 3rd rock to bring peace and stability to the whacked out state known as Washington.

I am afraid, though, that I will be doomed to live here forever, because where I come from, I have to stay till I get it "right".

Posted by: swatter on February 2, 2007 08:57 AM
6. Bruce - I assume you are also for them to be able to purchase guns too, if, after all, "if a person, under the law, has been deemed to have "paid their debt to society"...", why just voting.

With mail-in ballots, felons may start having votes count, as distincly differnt from felons voting.

Posted by: Right said Fred on February 2, 2007 09:02 AM
7. Wrong, Right said Fred. Guns are often used in crimes, with deadly consequences. Neither can be said about voting.

I don't understand the wording of your second sentence; please enlighten.

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2007 09:05 AM
8. Hey Stefan. Any truth to the rumors that you're considering challenging Reed in the GOP primary next year? No one knows more about what's wrong with electoral law in this state than you do.

Posted by: DJ on February 2, 2007 09:06 AM
9. Because the "have paid their debt to society". They have either paid their debt or they haven't. If they have then all their rights should be restored. If not, then giving them a piece of paper (ballot) that they can sell (the point of the second sentence) and commit crimes against the entire society by changing the outcome of an election.

And for a very, very small amount of time are guns used in crimes. The vast majority of time guns are used for target practice, hunting, or just sitting idle.

I just find it interesting how this "rehabilitated" person can be trusted with a ballot, but not a gun.

Posted by: Right said Fred on February 2, 2007 09:22 AM
10. Sorry, Bruce, but the determining factor as to whether or if a felon can vote has nothing to do with socieity's determination as to if said felon is a "great risk to others."

Of course, those who use such a standard are, 1. democrats who will actually benefit from such a determination; 2. convicted felons or 3. those who have yet to be victimized by felons.

For those 3 groups, it's comparatively easy to allow felons to have all of their rights the moment they walk past the gate to their lock up... even if their sentence isn't completed.

The fact remains, however, that ALL parts of the sentence, including that pesky restitution part, are SUPPOSED to be EQUALLY IMPORTANT.

The sentence is completed when each and every aspect has been fulfilled. Until then, there's really no difference between someone being locked up and someone out on parole.

And, what your argument suggests is that, should society make a determination (that someone is what you call a "great risk to others") then we should (although excepting sex offenders, we currently do not) have a mechanism to keep them locked up until such a determination is made.

Further, utilizing your "reasoning," the moment someone completes their sentence, no matter what the crime, then we should also restore their right to bear arms. I mean, after all, why not if "society has clearly decided that they are not a great risk to others?"

At the end of the day, restitution may be more important then any other aspect of a sentence, in that it is supposed to go some distance towards making the victim whole... to the extent that a victim CAN be made whole.

There is no justification to enable felons to vote until they've completed every aspect of their sentence, including paying all fines, fees and restitution. And Reed's support of this bill is yet another sign that his main concern is making his job easier, instead of doing what's right for the non-criminal people of this state.

The only change I would support might be to, upon completing ALL aspects of a sentence, automatically restore to the felon the right to vote without going through any cumbersome court process.

But anything else is just being done to get the leftists more votes... and make the Secretary of States job easier... and frankly, if Reed finds his office pogue position too difficult, he can always do us all a favor and resign... because if this guy IS a "Republican," then I'm ashamed to call myself one.


Posted by: Hinton on February 2, 2007 09:25 AM
11. They have committed a crime and thus must finish their whole sentence before being able to renew their rights. If they don't then they don't get to renew their rights. Why is this so hard to understand? The BS about it's unfair to the poor to have to pay restitution vs. rich people laughable. The person committed the crime and you serve your sentence. I believe if someone can't pay they can stay in jail to cover the costs. So they can then do that. If they don't want to have to go thru this don't commit the crime. This isn't a deterrant, we all know there is no deterrant for those going to commit crimes, but there consequences.

Side note: We need more jail space to stop having to let folks on parole....most times it's because we need the space. Yes some do deserve parole early, but if paroled doesn't mean they have paid their debt. Just that they don't have to be in jail. They are just serving their sentence is a different manner.

Posted by: Dengle on February 2, 2007 09:29 AM
12. btw - a poll tax is a fee charge to people with the right to vote to be able to vote. Since felon's don't have the right to vote it's not a poll tax.

Posted by: Dengle on February 2, 2007 09:36 AM
13. How does everyone feel about former politicians who commit felonies getting their voting rights back once they've served their time?

I hate to birng this up, but there are some recent new inmates at federal prisons that used to be Republican lawmakers. It hasn't been such a good year or two for the Reps in that department. Of course, the Dems aren't saints, either.

Posted by: Libertarian on February 2, 2007 09:38 AM
14. Who might those inmates be?

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on February 2, 2007 09:43 AM
15. Typical response from Sam Reed and his good time buddy Adam Kline of the 36th

Posted by: Green Lake Mark on February 2, 2007 09:48 AM
16. If felons have paid their debt to society, can they run for and hold office? Can they obtain a license to practice law or medicine, or to teach in public school? Can they be police officers, border guards, or TSA screeners? If not, why not.

I believe that once someone has been convicted of a felony, the most serious class of antisocial criminal behavior, they forever forfeit their right to decide anything about how our society works, or to be in any position of authority or control over the rest of us (their victims).

Posted by: Steve on February 2, 2007 09:52 AM
17. My no-good brother went to jail for two years back in the late 80's. It was for a felony conviction for drug possession and possession of a sawed-off shotgun (no - he did not use the gun to hurt anyone). When he got out he found out that he could not vote (this was not explicitly spelled-out in any of the court documents he signed), but was told several years later that he could apply to the governor's office to have this right re-instated. He didn't want to go through the hassle of having to fill out a form stating that he had finished all terms of his sentence when that should be obvious to the state officials that had him in custody.

Today he tries to keep a low profile, stays out of trouble, yet wants to get involved in the community in which he lives. One way is by voting (which he still can't do) and becoming involved in the issues that matter to him. Believe it or not, he is a conservative. Yet, he believes that the right to vote should be restored automatically upon release form all terms of the imposed sentence. He does NOT believe that ex-felons should automatically have their gun rights restored (this stemming from some of the people he met while incarcerated!). Is he lazy in not filling out the petition to restore his right? Maybe. But keeping a low profile is important to him and the ones that he loves.

So, to get to the point..sorry for the long story...I agree with him that the right to vote should be restored automatically upon finishing all aspects of an imposed sentence (pay all fines, restitution, do all community service, etc.) without having to file forms or make petitions. Guns? Not for ex-felons. (A side note: Felons can have their gun rights restored - all it takes is a petition to the governor who can approve or reject the petition. I haven't heard anyone mention this yet). By ensuring that ex-felons can not LEGALLY buy guns, we have done our part to try to curb any future violent gun related violent acts on their part. But, they can always buy one on the street if they really wanted too.

Posted by: Michael H on February 2, 2007 09:53 AM
18. I am getting truly weary of our legislators focusing on and worrying about felon voting rights, while they turn a blind eye to what's happening on the streets. They refuse to keep some of these creeps in for full term, they let them plea bargain down the charges, they refuse to enact meaningful child molestation legislation, car theft rarely is considered even a crime, and the list goes on. And yet we're concerned about felon voting rights? Just where are the priorities in our state? Take care of basics first.

Posted by: katomar on February 2, 2007 10:10 AM
19. MH,

Have you asked your brother why filling out the form is not keeping a low profile? You should encourage him to do so.

Posted by: Dengle on February 2, 2007 10:14 AM
20. Sorry Michael, but I don't want your brother deciding what the laws are which I live under. I don't think he should be abused or harassed, and I am fine with him living his peaceful low profile life. But why should he have any say whatsoever in what rules I must obey, when he wouldn't obey them himself.
P.S. - I'm glad he didn't use the sawed off shotgun to hurt anyone. It was probably just to scare them, right?

Posted by: Steve on February 2, 2007 10:17 AM
21. Steve @ 20:

I never got a clear answer as to why he had it, just that he "wanted to protect himself." Whatever that means. He hasn't talked about it in a while except to refer to that period in his life as "one giant act of stupidity." I see your point on him having a say on rules when he didn't obey the rules himself. But this occurred 20 years ago, and he has not re-offended in any manner since then. A true scared-straight story. How long must he wait before we say that we welcome his input as a taxpayer, homeowner, and productive citizen? Shouldn't he have a say (one vote) in who controls the tax dollars that he contributes?

Dengle @19
I have encouraged him to do so in the past. However, the choice is his to make. He is afraid that somehow, someway, unwanted attention would be directed to him and he would have to re-live the embarrasment and ridicule that he went through at that time. A bit paranoid if you ask me, but who would want Jim Forman from channel 5 or Chris Halsney from channel 7 knocking on their door?

Posted by: Michael H on February 2, 2007 10:38 AM
22. Bruce, that wasn't an "own goal". I was just musing on the arguments used by the social engineers why voting should be restored. I don't agree them.

Posted by: swatter on February 2, 2007 10:58 AM
23. no votes for felons UNLESS they paid ALL their debts to victims AND served their full times/sentences.

why? because a felon should not have a power (vote) over law-abiding citizens who chose not to do wrong. the felon vote then becomes equal to the victim's, victims' families or cancels it out.

why should a felon have power over my life? any amount of power--like a vote? power to determine my taxes/levies? a voice in the legislation i have to follow?--which--by the way--the felon chose to NOT follow?

another unfair slap in the face to the honest taxpayer & law-abiding citizen. same as giving illegal aliens any benefits. unfair to the legal populace. snub of nose to voters by legislators.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on February 2, 2007 11:10 AM
24. >>> Democrats in the legislature, joined by Sam Reed, seek to restore voting rights to all non-incarcerated felons

This is incorrect. Secretary Reed and our office have NOT advocated restoring voting rights to all non-incarerated felons.

In testifying before legislative committees have been very clear on this point. (See the TVW audio links posted at the end of this comment)

We have pointed out that there is no state electronic database of felons who have had their civil rights restored (by a court or by a pardon) over the decades. The Administrator of the Courts has been tracking restoration of civil rights over the past 4-5 years, but the data is non-existent prior to then.

Nor is there a database of which felons who have or have not fulfilled their financial obligations (fines, restitution or court costs). The Madison court case resulted in a court order barring us from prohibiting felons from voting who have not met their financial obligations. Secretary Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna vigorously opposed and appealed this decision.

Whatever the felon disenfranchisement law is, we need a way of comparing the Statewide Voter Registration Database against databases manintained by other agencies in the criminal justice system. In many cases there are no such databases.

Go to:
http://www.tvw.org/MediaPlayer/Archived/WME.cfm?EVNum=2007011300&TYPE=A
and que to 01:10:04 on the streaming audio to hear what our agency did say at the legislative hearing.

Posted by: Steve Excell on February 2, 2007 11:12 AM
25. I agree with allowing released felons who have not yet finished repaying their debts to vote, as long as they are required to live in a WA politician's house until their debt is repaid. After all, these are just harmless, reformed people who want to get back in to the community. What better way to regain a sense of community than to be adopted by their local politician who can shelter them, mentor them, and help them find a job post incarceration, etc. With their enormous tolerance and benevolence, I expect that many Democrats would sign up for this program.

A special subset program could be implemented for a test of societal fitness for rapists by allowing them to live with politicians who have young girls in their household. The politicians would then be able to show how well the system is capable of reforming rapists.

It would also be a great opportunity to create more jobs. A large bureaucracy of unionized state employees could be formed to oversee the program.

Posted by: Jeff B. on February 2, 2007 11:13 AM
26. Appalling.

Posted by: Michele on February 2, 2007 11:36 AM
27. Jeff B: Bravo! Sounds like a plan to me. The problem is our liberal legislators who gleefully ignore recidivism rates, who worship rehabilitation like a religion, and who actually don't want existing law enforced rigorously, never, ever have to face the consequences of their "progressive" actions. Somehow, they are insulated from becoming victims of their own folly. In the meantime, the rest of us poor schmucks are out here, waiting to become victims of the beneficiaries of their "progressive" justice system. Like the three law enforcement officers murdered just this year alone by felons in release programs being "supervised" by the state.

Posted by: katomar on February 2, 2007 11:37 AM
28. Wrong discussion!!!!
RED HERRING
DISTRACTION

The real issue is getting the party in power...
DEMOCRATS
to follow, obey, honor, current election law.

We have bigger fish to fry than restore felons voting rights.

We are discussing changing the rules. Why? The D's have proven the rules are for losers. Why play their game?

The current rules are not being followed. The party in power currently doesn't follow election law.

It won't matter one wit when felon franchise is restored as long as the election system is broken.

FIX THE SYSTEM FIRST!!!
Purge the rolls.
Everyone re-registers with proof of citizenship and residency.
No mail ballots.
No electronic machines.
Accounting style rules for ballots and votes.

Get all that straightened out then will talk restoring felons franchise.

Posted by: JCM on February 2, 2007 11:50 AM
29. Here's one of the vote deprived indebted cons whose case, with help from the ACLU, went to our state supreme court claiming she's being punished by not being able to vote until her financial indebtedness is paid off - at a rate of $10 a month plus interest:

DuBois, who lives in a trailer park near Chattaroy on $660 a month in food stamps, Social Security and state disability payments

She should be suing the prison system for not returning her as a productive member of society.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on February 2, 2007 11:53 AM
30. DJ:Hey Stefan. Any truth to the rumors that you're considering challenging Reed in the GOP primary next year?

None whatsoever.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on February 2, 2007 12:11 PM
31. What's going on here? Stefan says Sam Reed seeks to restore voting rights for non-incarcerated felons. Steve from Sam's office says this isn't true.

Stefan, can you show us where Sam Reed or his office say they seek to restore voting rights for all non-incarcerated felons? A video link or link to documents from the SOS would be helpful.

Frankly, I don't know who to believe here...but as the person making the accusations, it would be helpful if you showed us some proof, Stefan.

Posted by: Randy Mueller on February 2, 2007 12:22 PM
32. Sam Reed needs to be "kicked to the curb" in the next election. He has done more with his requested legislative changes to allow illegal votes than anyone else in the state government. I will vote for a Democrat before I cast another vote for Sam Reed.

HIs proposed Heritage Center in Olympia is a multi-million dollar boondoggle that taxpayers shouldn't fund either.

Posted by: sgmmac on February 2, 2007 12:23 PM
33. No guns or votes for Mike Webb!

.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on February 2, 2007 12:39 PM
34. Bill C. @ 14

Randy Cunningham comes to mind. I think that guy Ney is supposed to be entenced soon. The Reps haven't been good boys and girls lately.

Of course, I sure the Dems will catch up with the soon.

Posted by: Libertarian on February 2, 2007 12:51 PM
35. As I said before, if it was at all clear that felony voter purge lists actually only targeted felons who had not had their right to vote restored, then this conversation would have some rational basis. But it is clear that felony voter purge lists have been used time and again to supress legal, honest, votes.

I have no problem with restoring people's 2nd Amendment rights. I have a problem with letting violent offenders out of prison in the first place. I also have a problem with overcrowding prisons with non-violent drug offenders, and letting violent offenders out at all.

A lot of the "fines" that people get while in prison have less to do with restitution than with red tape.

What are you worried about anyway, that felons will vote to reform the American "for-profit" prison system? A system in which human rights abuses occur regularly, like prison rape and HIV infection. Ridiculous. Do you really think that all felons vote Democrat? There's many a Republican felon that would disagree.

What is the concern here? Mine is election integrity. I can't really discern a logical argument against restoring people's rights once they leave prison.

Could someone please explain to me where felons voting would be a concern?

Posted by: Gentry on February 2, 2007 01:04 PM
36. If financial indebtedness is going to be a test for determining voting rights, I would submit that a credit check for our voters would probably eliminate most of them. Violent offenders should be put away and kept away. If a person comes out the prison door, they have served the sentence and if money is owed that puts them right in there with a lot of other citizens who owe 5K on their credit cards.

Posted by: rocketdog on February 2, 2007 01:37 PM
37. Nice try rocket. Part of the sentence is to pay.

Posted by: Right said Fred on February 2, 2007 01:38 PM
38. Often the financial indebtedness of felons isn't just a discretionary fine. It's restitution. Restitution for victims. Restitution for public costs caused by the convicted felon. One might wonder if the Jeffrey Skillings, Bernie Ebbers' (providing they outlive incarceration) and Michael Milkens of the world would pay-up without a hammer over their heads such as something as simple as restoration of their voting rights. And as far as Joe Slug and a ten dollar a month sentencing debt - well Joe probably isn't too good about paying his electric bill or traffic tickets. But why shouldn't there be a lever on Joe for his public debts stemming from his crime? If Joe hadn't chosen to be a criminal in the first place then Joe wouldn't have to be concerned with his voting rights. Joe probably ditched school the day the subject of voting rights was taught in civics class.

Of equal or bigger concern should be judges who think they can control established voting rights law without appropriate legislation and/or public vote. That's the case with King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman and the Madison case. Judges like Spearman must be remembered at election time. And Spearman has to be remembered if he decides to run for the Supreme Court again.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on February 2, 2007 02:12 PM
39. A rapist or murderer should never ever be allowed to vote. But, that fits in with the topic of restitution. They never, ever can repay their debt to society.

We can talk about robbers being allowed to vote, but not rapists and murderers. Okay?

Posted by: swatter on February 2, 2007 03:10 PM
40. What, are you supporting letting murderers out of jail?

Besides, no one on here has come up with one defense against the use of purge lists to eliminate voters. Look into the history of Choicepoint, just scratch the surface, and you will find that felony purge lists are used, time and again, to eliminate voters who were never felons. I've already provided links.

Stefan, what about it? Everyone bows down to your knowledge of election issues around here, well, are you aware of all the information Greg Palast has exposed on this issue?

Posted by: Gentry on February 2, 2007 03:41 PM
41. Does anybody find it ironic that the democrat legislature is wanting to restore the voting of felons yet a few years ago this party tried to thwart the votes of military folks overseas????
Now THAT's the true colors of libs coming out.

Posted by: PC on February 2, 2007 04:02 PM
42. Gentry #35:

I will explain why I think felons voting is a concern. If we allow those who have been unable or unwilling to conform their behavior to the barest minimum of civilization (i.e. don't kill people or maim them, don't steal their stuff, don't defraud your neighbors) to then turn around and help make the rules for the rest of us, we have the foxes guarding the hen house, or the inmates running the asylum if you will.

I submit that it is immoral to allow severe transgressors to have any say whatsoever about the rules we all live by. I do not consider these felons my peers. We live in an enlighted society where we don't automatically sever hands of theives, or literally take an eye for an eye. But come on, do you really think sitting in a cell for a few years makes everything alright for the greater society whose fabric has been ripped apart by these deviants. We all live in fear and worry, even if we have personally never been victimized. We must spend our hard earned money on security, insurance, police because of these felons. They have harmed us all enough - there is no reason to let them set the ground rules for us law abiding citizens.

I would be in favor of setting up an isolated enclave, probably on an island, where any felons who chose to could move and self govern. But I think it would rapidly descend into a lord of the flies situation.

Posted by: Steve on February 2, 2007 04:36 PM
43. There is a bigger question here of which restoring the vote to felons is only a tiny piece of. The question is how is citizenship defined and are there not only rights and responsibilities which flow from citizenship.

1. My observation is and I know that it will drawn comments from the progressives is that most progressives care little about the individual situation, but more about the collective definition. All felon voting is about is another voting block to be exploited. Biden's comments about Obama give a clue to the view of most people of color by progressives.

2. Since it is about voting blocks, why does one even have to be a US citizen to vote? Why not just let everyone on US soil vote?

3. If the reinstatement of voting privledges was about citizenship and its responsiblities as well as rights, then the proposal would be to restore
voting privledges after restitution is paid and probabtion is completed.

I am an indie, but I can see that given the all
encompassing definitions of citizenship to follow the pubbies will probably be out of office for several decades. There was a recent article about one out of eight Brazilian Legislators was involved in corruption. Expansion of the definition of citizenship based upon a rights formula alone instead of a rights and responsibilities formula means this state and country are on the way to a third world political system and eventually a third world social and economic system.

Posted by: WVH on February 2, 2007 04:54 PM
44. There is a bigger question here of which restoring the vote to felons is only a tiny piece of. The question is how is citizenship defined and are there not only rights and responsibilities which flow from citizenship.

1. My observation is and I know that it will drawn comments from the progressives is that most progressives care little about the individual situation, but more about the collective definition. All felon voting is about is another voting block to be exploited. Biden's comments about Obama give a clue to the view of most people of color by progressives.

2. Since it is about voting blocks, why does one even have to be a US citizen to vote? Why not just let everyone on US soil vote?

3. If the reinstatement of voting privledges was about citizenship and its responsiblities as well as rights, then the proposal would be to restore
voting privledges after restitution is paid and probabtion is completed.

I am an indie, but I can see that given the all
encompassing definitions of citizenship to follow the pubbies will probably be out of office for several decades. There was a recent article about one out of eight Brazilian Legislators was involved in corruption. Expansion of the definition of citizenship based upon a rights formula alone instead of a rights and responsibilities formula means this state and country are on the way to a third world political system and eventually a third world social and economic system.

Posted by: WVH on February 2, 2007 04:55 PM
45. Ok, so it's clear now:

"We all live in fear and worry"

No, no we don't. Some people live in fear, you do obviously. I don't, and I know plenty of others that do not live in fear as well. It's a ridiculous statement on the surface. And I've had plenty of encounters with those that would do me harm, and have. Projecting your fear on others is all you have done here.

We can argue the idealistic world view all we want. Should certain citizens not be allowed to vote? Well in the idealistic world, Murderers would never get out of jail.

But here in the really real world, those that are in power have a clear history of using felony purge list, not to eliminate felons, but to eliminate as many people as possible from the voting rolls from the opposition as they can identify through location and demographics.

If society says that someone is now going to once again participate in society, and let's that person out of jail, then that person should be allowed to participate in society. If on the other hand they are a danger to society, the problem is not in letting them vote, but in the fact that the law that set the punishment did not fit the crime.

Personally, I don't think violent rapists or murderers should be allowed out of prison.

But so far, not one person here wants to deal with the Choicepoint issue. And that's sad. Because frankly, left or right or in the middle, my goal is to make sure the vote is counted fairly and accurately.

Posted by: Gentry on February 2, 2007 04:55 PM
46. Not that it matters, but the State Constitution says that persons convicted of "infamous crimes", i.e, felonies don't vote unless their rights are restored.

Art. 6 Section 3 says: "All persons convicted of infamous crime unless restored to their civil rights and all persons while they are judicially declared mentally incompetent are excluded from the elective franchise."

Shouldn't this take a constitutional amendment--a 2/3rds vote and a vote of the people?

The RCW's have long provided that "infamous crime" means a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state prison. RCW 29A.04.073--felonies.

Is the legislature just planning to do a blanket restoration? What an accomplishment!

Even if they take that approach, I think it still would be unconstitutional because when this provision was most recently adopted by the people getting rights restored was understood to involve a judicial process.

I hope someone challenges this law if passed.

Posted by: Besquared on February 2, 2007 05:39 PM
47. Shouldn't this take a constitutional amendment--a 2/3rds vote and a vote of the people?

That's a good question for Judge Spearman.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on February 2, 2007 06:00 PM
48. Gentry - You are changing the subject. We were talking about the disenfranchisement of convicted felons. You are talking about officials misusing some lists to disenfranchise non-felons. If that is indeed happening, the responsible public officials ought to be themselves prosecuted for violating their oath of office, put in jail, and then themselves disenfranchised.

Unless you leave your front door unlocked at night and let your children play unsupervised in this city, don't tell me you don't react to fear of crime.

And you still haven't answered my question - if you think that once felons leave prison they are suddenly equal to everyone else, why shouldn't they be able to hold office, or practice law, or drive armored cars full of cash, or run day care out of their homes? Do you agree there is a line to be drawn somewhere, or not? If you do, we can argue about what belongs on which side of that line. I simply think voting is beyond the line.

Posted by: Steve on February 2, 2007 06:30 PM
49. Sam Reed, is one so called Republican, that I will never vote for again. I would even vote for a democrat to replace him. He is an absolute turncoat and it is time for him to turn to the private world. I have never been so disapointed with this office in this state.

Posted by: GS on February 2, 2007 09:12 PM
50. When I was 18, I was convicted of a felony when I hit a football player (about 6'4" 300lbs, me 6'0 175lbs) with a pool cue after he threatened to beat my ass and "fuck my girlfriend (future wife) on the pool table." I was charged with assault with intent to cause great bodily harm. I got 10 years probation and a fine+paying for his medical bills. I met all those conditions and now I have my voting rights back. The first election I was able to participate in, I voted for Bush (2004). I am a conservative and I know that in this particular case, it will be Dems that benefit from it but I think unless there is a specific law on a states' book that says convicted felons lose the right to vote permanently, then as long as thery have met all the requirements, they should get to vote.

As far as owning guns, many states and federal law state that convicted felons can't own them, so I have no problem with that. I own a musket that I use for ACW re-enactments which is legal. I doubt you'll catch me on a tower with a muzzle loader anytime soon.

Posted by: MKL on February 2, 2007 09:20 PM
51. Steve @ 43, second paragraph. Brilliant observation for all. I love it.

Posted by: PC on February 2, 2007 09:57 PM
52. OOPS, I meant Steve @ 48. The comments on 43 were good too though.

Posted by: PC on February 2, 2007 09:59 PM
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