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We're all unconvicted felons

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At least most of us are, writes Matt Welch in a new Reason article that argues against denying the vote to 4.6 million Americans with a rap on their sheet. He's aware of the partisan complication that if ex-cons could vote, Bush would have lost Florida and Gore would be president, but he says politics are trumped by history. Laws that ban felons from voting began as a way to disenfranchise freed slaves after the Civil War, and today penalize the unlucky who get caught. There's also the absurdities, such as the Virginia man who lost his voting rights for life for having oral sex with his ex-girlfriend. Writes associate editor Welch:

Have you ever committed a felony? If you've ever written a lewd comment on a postcard, you have committed a felony... Or if you refused to register for the draft after turning 18, or said "fuck" on the radio, or knowingly mis-valued the items in your suitcase, or smuggled an abortion pill from France, or taken a baseball bat to a mailbox.

He provides plenty of links.


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