Hot Take: Laws Barring Felons From Voting Is Raaaaacist

It’s a cute rationale to attempt to get a client off the hook for voting illegally

Charged with voting illegally, she’s challenging an NC law for its ‘racist origins’

The law preventing some people with felony convictions from voting has “toxic racist origins” and is unconstitutional, says an attorney for an Alamance County woman charged with voting illegally.

State law bars people who are on probation or parole for felonies from voting. An audit last year of votes cast in 2016 found 441 suspected felon voters. The state elections office began referring cases to local district attorneys, and prosecutors in Alamance County have brought charges against a dozen people.

A lawyer with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice argued in a court filing that the charge against Whitney Brown for voting while she was on probation should be dismissed.

“We hope that the court recognizes the unconstitutionality of this law,” said John F. Carella, the lawyer representing Brown and four other Alamance voters.

The law prohibiting people who are on probation or parole after having been convicted of felonies falls disproportionally on African-Americans, Carella said in the court document, and has origins in the state’s history of voter suppression.

So, it happens to whites, Asians, Latinos, etc. too? Huh. 68% of those the state identified as voting illegally while a felon were black, 31% were white. So, obviously, raaaaacism.

The state passed a law in 1901 to prevent people with criminal convictions from voting . It was aimed at keeping African-Americans from casting ballots and has gone largely unchanged, Carella’s court motion sa

It’s not that pretty much every state has the same type of laws. Or that the law applies equally to all felons. If some are dumb enough to get caught, that’s not raaaaacist.

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3 Responses to “Hot Take: Laws Barring Felons From Voting Is Raaaaacist”

  1. Professor Hale says:

    I don’t really care if felons can vote. We let stupid people vote. We let communists vote. We let mentally incompetent people vote. In my view, these are all higher on the list of “should be excluded” than felons. Voting is not a guaranteed universal right. But once a felon has served his time, he should be restored to society in every meaningful sense and that includes voting according to the laws of his state. If you can’t trust him in society, then he should be exiled, held in custody or put to death.

  2. McGehee says:

    It isn’t that laws against felons voting are racist. When you follow the argument to its logical conclusion, they’re claiming all laws are racist. By definition.

    As for restoring felons’ civil rights, most states already have a mechanism for this — usually the governor can do it in much the same way the President can issue a pardon or commute a sentence. In other states, there’s a board of pardons and paroles that has this authority or something like it.

    In many cases the process is convoluted and expensive, and ought to be simplified — especially if one’s conviction, like my brother’s, is for something that’s no longer illegal — but that’s another issue.

    • McGehee says:

      In fact, here’s my take: I’d be okay with automatically restoring civil rights for a first-time felon who’s served his time, including the full duration of his parole.

      A second-time felon should have to apply.

      A third-time felon is SOL.

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