The U.S. Congress and several states are considering legislation concerning the restoration of voting rights to former felons. Most cannot vote from prison, but many states allow felons a pathway to restoring their right to vote. Many lawmakers argue that pathway should be widened.
Here are five quotes by lawmakers against not restoring voting rights to felons:
VOTE NOW: Should Convicted Felons Be Allowed to Vote?
"Regrettably, there has been an increasing trend towards restricting the right to vote amongst certain states employing regressive practices. These states that are denying voting rights to ex-offenders represents a vestige from a time when suffrage was denied to whole classes of the American population. Just like literacy tests and poll taxes prevented an entire class of citizens — namely African Americans — from integrating into society after centuries of slavery, ex-felon disenfranchisement laws prevent people from reintegrating into society after they have served their time in prison. It is long overdue that these restrictions be relegated to the dustbin of history." - John Conyers (D-MI), according to The House Committee on The Judiciary Democrats.
"When prisoners are released, they are expected to obey the law, get a job, and pay taxes as they seek a fair shot at being rehabilitated and reintegrated into their community. Along with these responsibilities and obligations of citizenship should be the right to vote. The patchwork of state laws leads to an unfair disparity and unequal participation in Federal elections based solely on where an individual lives, in addition to the racial disparities inherent in our judicial system. Congress has a responsibility to remedy these problems and enact a nationwide standard for restoration of voting rights." -
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
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"Because they are not engaged in the process, they get left behind. We have to figure out how to engage them in the process." - Cory V. McCray, Maryland State Delegate, commenting on a push to restore voting rights to felons in Delaware, as reported by The Washington Post.
"Simplifying the law so that once you are out, you can vote will make the democratic process more accessible to tens of thousands of Marylanders who are currently shut out." - Sen. Joan Carter Conway during a push to restore felons voting rights in Delaware, reported by The Washington Post.
"A criminal record is currently one of the biggest impediments to voting in federal elections. The Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act will reform existing federal law and give low-level ex-offenders another opportunity to vote. This is an issue that I feel strongly about, and I will continue to fight for the restoration of voting rights in the hopes of giving non-violent ex-offenders a second chance." - Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), as reported by The Huffington Post.
VOTE NOW: Do You Think Convicted Felons Should Be Allowed to Vote?
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