The past few weeks Pinky has been at the library practically every night so until she is done with her Hawaii-research you get me or Kim writing blogs.
Last night I was watching some old Futurama cartoons and came across this:
But it also made me think. When Bender (the robot guy) said that he can't vote because he's a former convicted felon, I wondered if that was something that's based in reality or not. So I looked it up.
Come to find out, the right to vote is different from state to state. Almost every state in the U.S. does not allow people currently in prison (felony conviction) to have any voting rights. Most states reinstate their right to vote upon release from prison (in some states there is a period of time where they can't vote right away). But in other states if you've ever been convicted of a felony you are barred from voting for life.
To me, this is unfair. What kind of 'conventional wisdom' could provide a logical argument for disenfranchising over 5 million thinking adults in this country? Universal suffrage (which I've heard people refer to the U.S. as having) is supposed to extend voting rights to all adults regardless of race, sex, beliefs, intelligence, economic status or social status.
So why are prisoners being singled out for exclusion? It's not like they're stupid. Nor are they evil (if you believe prisoners are stupid or evil you need to meet more prisoners and ex-prisoners). Do you think allowing prisoners to vote would result in the election of evil candidates? (we are not doing so well in this regard already, and they are being elected by supposedly non-evil non-ex-felons) Actually, it makes sense that we should value the votes of prisoners. I think they are a group of people who have a unique and valuable insight into matters of law, power, and the inner workings of society. They are often the people whose lives have been most directly impacted by the issues that politicians like to talk about.
Plus! If you look at who has the highest rates of convictions and incarceration in this country, I think you can make a reasonable argument that the disenfranchisement of prisoners and ex-prisoners is not only unwise but also racist and classist.