July 30, 2001
This plank advocates full restoration of voting rights for
"ex-prisoners" or "former prisoners".
The very title of this plank reflects deliberate distortion of
fact and masks malicious intent.
This is a complex issue that is being intentionally simplified
and politicized by liberals. It is a subject laced with
claims of racism to garner sympathetic support. Many
moderate liberal followers perhaps donít realize they are
being misled, or perhaps under-appreciate the potential impact
in their own communities that would result by blindly accepting
liberal propaganda on the subject.
Iíll explain the basic nature of the liberal argument,
refuting their distortions of fact. Iíll address what I
believe is the true underlying issue that makes this plank
important to the liberal agenda. Despite the liberal
distortion and subterfuge, Iíll show that the issue is not as
bleak as they paint it, and that the real merits of the issue
are bipartisan, and not partisan as they portray.
Liberals have four main points they use to argue for restoration
of a felonís voting rights. (They also have one underlying
reason for their position they donít admit publicly.)
The first argument is the notion of "no taxation without
representation". The second is the notion that people
who have "paid their dues" to society should be able
to participate fully in society. The third is the notion
that denying felons the right to vote violates the
Constitution. The fourth argument holds disenfranchisement
is racially biased.
Liberals say that we should let "ex-felons"
vote because they pay taxes like the rest of us. "No
taxation without representation!", they exclaim.
It is a phrase that strikes at notions of "fairness",
deliberately chosen by liberals because they know the phrase
resonates in the psyche of conservatives.
Liberals might react like Pavlovís dogs to conditioned
phrases, but most conservatives donít. Tell me, is it
"fair" to a felonís victims that the felony was
committed? Why donít we worry more about victims than
their transgressors? Is it "fair" that
law-abiding taxpayers shoulder the fiscal burden of trying and
incarcerating lawbreakers? Why donít we weigh in balance
the total cost of these crimes versus the taxes these felons
Iím sorry, I cannot generate much sympathy for the
felon. An admittedly emotional reason is they pretty much
got what they deserved. A more logical reason is liberal
claims about the extent of lifetime disenfranchisement for the
majority of felons are greatly exaggerated. They are wrong
on the facts.
The second argument liberals use is if a person "does the
time" for the crime, all should be forgiven. That
perhaps might be supportable, yet liberals donít even want
felons to completely pay for their crimes before regaining the
privilege of voting. State Representative Kenneth P. Green
(Democrat), from Connecticut, for example, thinks itís OK for
felons on probation to vote.
Such a position makes the argument non-supportable in the view
of many Americans.
Liberals claim that Constitutional rights are being violated,
specifically citing the 14th Amendment. What
they conveniently ignore in the claim is a little phrase in
Section 1, Article II, italicized here:
"All persons born or naturalized
in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,
are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person
within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the lawsÖ."
One thing defendants and convicted criminals in this country
receive is certainly due process of law.
Finally, the NAACP and others have restoration of the vote for
"ex-felons" as a top legislative priority because,
they say, blacks have a higher rate of conviction and
I acknowledge that some folks in this country are racists,
and do discriminate. I find it beyond reason, however, to
believe that today, local, State and Federal law enforcement
collude to intentionally deny civil rights to any particular
group of citizens.
I have a very hard time accepting NAACP claims that higher rates
of conviction and incarceration denote blatant prejudice and
discrimination, and I resent the inference that crime being
committed is either a secondary issue or not even an issue at
all. I reject the muted contention that such crimes should
be forgiven because a person of color committed them.
The concept should remain that if any person commits a
crime, they forfeit certain civil rights Ė temporarily or
permanently, as the facts warrant. Ethnicity and skin
color, in my opinion, are irrelevant factors running far behind
the singular fact that the vast majority of felons, regardless
of race, are nabbed and convicted because they truly did the
Our society does place a penalty upon those who have committed
felonies and we should not apologize for it. Playing the
race card, as some people reflexively are wont to do, performs a
disservice to our multicultural society.
When liberals talk about the disenfranchisement of convicted
criminals, they are talking only about felons. Conviction
of a felony impacts voting rights in most States. A few
facts may help understand the little semantic game the liberals
are playing here. They have direct bearing on the
falsehood and distortion of the liberal argument.
offenses are labeled as felonies Ė murder, sexual assault,
robbery, aggravated assault, and other violent acts like
negligent manslaughter and kidnapping. Property
offenses such as burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and
fraud and forgery are also felonies as are drug offenses of
possession or trafficking, and weapons offenses.
convicted of crime, whether felony or not, face three basic
types of sentences Ė prison confinement, jail confinement,
is a sentence involving supervised release under conditions
specified by the court and takes two forms: straight
probation and a split sentence. Straight probation is
probation with no confinement, and a split sentence is probation
combined with confinement."
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau
of Justice Statistics Bulletin, July 1999, NCJ 175045, Felony
Sentencing in the United States, 1996, by Jodi M. Brown and
Patrick A. Langan
2 Once a felon, always a felon, unless
pardoned. For this reason, I will not use the disingenuous
term that liberals use Ė "ex-felon", unless in the
context of quoting them.
3 This is just one of Jesse Jackson's pet
4 HB05042, State of Connecticut General
Assembly, January 2001 Session, introduced by Representative
Green, 1st District, An Act Restoring Voting
Rights of Convicted Felons Who Are On Probation "Statement
of purpose: To allow individuals in the community to vote
regardless of their judicial system label."
Representative Green wants to amend three sections of the
general statutes "to restore the voting rights of
individuals who have been convicted of a felony and are on
probation." (Author's note: The bill was cosponsored by
three other Representatives, also Democrats. In 1998,
Connecticut was among the top ten States with the highest rates
of supervision for probationers per 100,000 adult residents -
according to Bureau of Justice statistics.)
5 NAACP News, April 4, 2001, NAACP
Appeals For Voting Rights For Ex-Felony Offenders.
NAACP officials presented testimony to the Maryland State
Senate's Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee,
supporting restoration of voting rights to ex-felony offenders
as "one of its top legislative priorities."
6 Complaints that African Americans make
up 1/3 of all felony conviction, yet African Americans make up
only 13% of the total US population, lead to charges of racial
discrimination. The argument is almost to the point of
being verbalized that if African Americans comprise 15% of a
State's population, then the State's prison population
shouldn't be more than 15% African American, otherwise it
Copyright © Copyright © 2020, 2003, 2004
by Michael A. Wallace & America's Voices, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Wallace is a registered Republican, a former
Eagle Scout, a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle
Association, a strong believer in Second Amendment rights, a
retired Marine officer, and a pro-life advocate Ė- all things
liberals seem to dislike. In addition to his affiliation with
Voices, Mike is a founding member of ConservaVets,
a conservative veteran's organization (which has since become Rally4America).
Mike uses thorough constitutional and historical research to analyze and
explain key moral and political issues of the day. He particularly
enjoys debunking the myths and lies perpetrated by the many liberal
groups who claim to speak for most Americans and by those who
misrepresent Constitutional principles to further their own agendas. E-mail
Mike at email@example.com.