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Thread: Maggot felons - in prison - have a "right" to vote

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Maggot felons - in prison - have a "right" to vote

    Fed judges: Wash. felony inmates should get vote


    OLYMPIA, Wash. In a decision that could give momentum to other efforts to expand voting to inmates, a federal appeals court ruled that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote in Washington state.

    There's a patchwork of laws across the nation concerning restoration of felons' voting rights, but only Maine and Vermont allow those behind bars to cast ballots.

    The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned the 2000 ruling of a district judge in Spokane. That judge had ruled that Washington state's felon disenfranchisement law did not violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former prison inmate from Bellevue.

    The two appellate judges ruled that disparities in the state's justice system "cannot be explained in race-neutral ways."

    A spokeswoman said state Attorney General Rob McKenna is weighing the state's next step. Spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie said that they could either ask a larger group of judges from the 9th Circuit to reconsider the ruling or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. If appealed, it's likely that the state would seek a stay on inmate's ability to vote until the case is resolved.
    While the ruling only currently covers Washington state, if it stands, Guthrie said it could be the basis for litigation in any area covered by the 9th Circuit Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

    Of the more than 18,000 felons currently in state custody who could get their right to vote back under this ruling, 37.1 percent are minorities. Of that group, blacks make up the largest percentage, at 19.2 percent.

    The issues the ruling raises about racial bias in the justice system are not unique to Washington state, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., group promoting sentencing reform.
    "They are issues that permeate the justice system and are relevant in every state," he said.

    Mauer said that an estimated 5.3 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction.

    Tuesday's court's ruling is "an embarrassment," said Trent England, a policy director at Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington state.

    "It flies in the face of precedent," he said. "Not only is felon disenfranchisement constitutional but it's good policy. People who commit the most heinous crimes should be deprived of their voice in our system of government at least for a time."

    The lawsuit was filed by Muhammad Shabazz Farrakhan, formerly of Bellevue. He was serving a three-year sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for a series of felony-theft convictions when he sued the state in 1996.

    Ultimately, five other inmates, all members of racial minority groups, joined as plaintiffs.

    The lawsuit contended that because nonwhites make up a large percentage of the prison population, a state law prohibiting inmates and parolees from voting is illegal because it dilutes the electoral clout of minorities. That was a violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965, the lawsuit said.

    An attorney for Farrakhan equated disenfranchisement laws to poll taxes and literacy tests of the past.

    "In this case, we have proved that the criminal justice system in this state is biased against African-Americans, and the impact has been a violation of their voting rights," said Larry Weiser, a law professor at Gonzaga University School of Law who is the lead attorney in the lawsuit.

    The state contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the law was not intended to discriminate against minorities.

    David Ammons, a spokesman for the state's head elections official, said that Secretary of State Sam Reed "supports minority rights, but believes it is a rational and reasonable sanction for society to demand that felons lose their voting rights while in prison or under community supervision."

    Last year, lawmakers passed a law that allows convicted felons to reregister to vote once they're no longer on parole or probation. Previously, felons who were no longer in Washington state custody but owed court-ordered fines and restitution were not allowed to vote. Under the new law that took effect last July, voting rights could be revoked if a felon willingly fails to make regular payments on those financial obligations.

    In her dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown wrote that the majority "has charted territory that none of our sister circuits has dared to explore," and notes that three other appellate courts the 1st Circuit in a Massachusetts case, the 2nd Circuit in a New York case, and the 11th Circuit in a Florida case "have all determined that vote denial challenges to felon disenfranchisement laws are not cognizable under the Voting Rights Act."

    She wrote that since Washington state passed a law changing voting rights just last year, and after the 9th Circuit heard the Farrakhan case, the case should go back to district court.

    "It is not our job to consider, in the first instance, the effect this new law has on plaintiffs' case and whether the totality of the circumstances analysis under ... the Voting Rights Act should be different now that plaintiffs' case remains viable only as to currently incarcerated felons," she wrote.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like the suit went through because the existing laws are inconsistent.

    IMO, people awaiting trial and people serving time for misdemeanors ought to be allowed to vote. Felons, whether awaiting trial or convicted, need to follow the process for restoration of their voting rights.

    A separate issue is the increasing number of otherwise minor crimes which have been classified as felonies...

    Chip H.

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    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Fed judges: Wash. felony inmates should get vote
    I agree with it. IMO, all Americans should be able to vote. All who are born in the USA from the age of about 15 and up. I would make an exception only for criminals who are US citizens but were NOT born in the USA and have been convicted of a felony crime here.

    I see no logical reason why convicted criminals should not have voting rights, if born in the USA.

    I don't think it will change the outcome anyway, except perhaps in very rare cases where the vote will be too close to call anyway. And besides that, I bet most of them won't even bother to vote.

    -Don- (in Sha Tin, Hong Kong)

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "I see no logical reason why convicted criminals should not have voting rights, if born in the USA."

    If we're talking violent felons I disagree. Such scumbags should be thrown in a deep hole, never to reappear, let alone vote.

    I'll go further.

    No one who is not a taxpayer or property owner should be able to vote. All prospective voters should have to pass a basic knowledge test, too. If they can't demonstrate a basic grasp of the structure and function of our system of government, the Constitution, its powers and limits, the Bill of Rights, etc., they're too ignorant to be trusted to vote. If they aren't taxpayers or property holders, they have no right to have a say in how the wealth and property of others will be disposed of.

    I make one exception to the above: Combat veterans of the military.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    "I see no logical reason why convicted criminals should not have voting rights, if born in the USA."

    If we're talking violent felons I disagree. Such scumbags should be thrown in a deep hole, never to reappear, let alone vote.

    I'll go further.

    No one who is not a taxpayer or property owner should be able to vote. All prospective voters should have to pass a basic knowledge test, too. If they can't demonstrate a basic grasp of the structure and function of our system of government, the Constitution, its powers and limits, the Bill of Rights, etc., they're too ignorant to be trusted to vote. If they aren't taxpayers or property holders, they have no right to have a say in how the wealth and property of others will be disposed of.

    I make one exception to the above: Combat veterans of the military.
    I like your Ideas! I would go for all of that. However since we do NOT do it that way and we let idiots vote, why not let almost everybody else vote too? IOW, either do it right or else let everybody vote!

    We were supposed to be more of a Constitutional Republic than a democracy anyway.



    "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good."
    --H. L. Mencken


    -Don Quoteman (in Sha Tin, Hong Kong)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    "I see no logical reason why convicted criminals should not have voting rights, if born in the USA."

    If we're talking violent felons I disagree. Such scumbags should be thrown in a deep hole, never to reappear, let alone vote.

    I'll go further.

    No one who is not a taxpayer or property owner should be able to vote. All prospective voters should have to pass a basic knowledge test, too. If they can't demonstrate a basic grasp of the structure and function of our system of government, the Constitution, its powers and limits, the Bill of Rights, etc., they're too ignorant to be trusted to vote. If they aren't taxpayers or property holders, they have no right to have a say in how the wealth and property of others will be disposed of.

    I make one exception to the above: Combat veterans of the military.
    Perfect! Problem is, too many of the bix nood crowd won't qualify, thus making such tests rayzezz and sheet.

    About owning property - do you mean landowners or anyone with a bank account? What about renters - could they vote?
    If we should give Abraham Lincoln credit for uniting America, then we should give Adolf Hitler credit for uniting Europe, as both men used the same methods for the same goals.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebelKnightCSA View Post
    Perfect! Problem is, too many of the bix nood crowd won't qualify, thus making such tests rayzezz and sheet.

    About owning property - do you mean landowners or anyone with a bank account? What about renters - could they vote?
    Exactly - but I think we may be close to a tipping point. This (the system as currently constituted) can't function much longer. In particular, the system of racial spoils, of politically correct pressure to pretend there's no race issue, etc. - is something many white Americans (and productive people, generally) have had enough of.

    Renters - absolutely.

    Just not people who fall into the tax-eater category.

    This is one of the linchpin reasons, in my opinion, why we are in the mess we're in. If the franchise were restricted to those who pay the costs of government, then the cost of government would be restrained - and the burden on the productive elements of society minimal and reasonable instead of excessive and unreasonable (as today).

    Such an approach would also promote and encourage responsible behavior; there would be an incentive to not be a Maggot - pride in being able to vote.

    Instead, the franchise is just given away to literally everyone - including criminals and completely worthless Maggots.

    Which makes it worthless.

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