Voting Rights

Pamela Moses stands sentenced to six years and one day in the slammer in Memphis for the horrific crime of attempting to register to vote. Not for any voting infraction, but solely for having tried to register to vote.

Ms. Moses is a convicted felon who served her time, did her parole and was a free woman. She’s an activist and she wanted to vote, but she wasn’t sure if she would be allowed to, so she checked with the parole folks, who gave her a certificate saying it was okay. Even the election officials kept her on the voting rolls while she was doing time. Turns out it wasn’t that simple.

Because of her being a convicted felon, Ms. Moses was prohibited from voting. This is Tennessee, after all. Nobody told her she couldn’t vote and multiple officials said she could vote, but nuh-uh. The state prosecutor and judge are button-popping proud of themselves for having protected Tennesseans throughout the state from the frightening peril of Ms. Moses registering to vote. Now she’s in the slammer.

This is morally odious in many ways, including in comparison to the tap-not-slap on the wrist some got for actually voting for Trump in the name of their dead relatives. For now, let’s leave this odious Tennessee abuse of Ms. Moses to her attorney and focus on the big picture.

There are penalties for breaking the law. Sometimes it’s a fine; sometimes it’s jail time; sometimes it’s both. But in some states a conviction also carries the unreasonable penalty of losing the right to vote. It strikes me as horrifically undemocratic and just plain wrong to snatch away someone’s Constitutional right, given that other penalties are proscribed and imposed, so I’m hereby offering legislation to fix this obvious and vindictive misuse of the justice system.

The United States Restoration and Preservation of Voting Rights Act

The purpose of this Act is to ensure that the right to vote is guaranteed to all Americans of voting age, as intended by the Constitution, regardless of a citizen’s prior activity, even if it was illegal.
Section 1

Neither any state nor the federal government shall create any law, statute or guideline that prohibits or limits persons convicted of felonies or misdemeanors from registering to vote and/or from voting in any federal, state, county or local election.

Section 2

The right to vote and/or register to vote of any person convicted of any misdemeanor or felony shall not be restricted in any way due to any debt related to court costs, legal fees, restitution requirement or any other financial obligation such person may have to others, nor due to any other encumbrance, constraint or duty of any kind.

Section 3

The voting rights of persons convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and whose voting rights have been abridged, terminated or limited in any way shall have his or her voting rights immediately and fully restored upon passage of this legislation.

Section 4

Congress alone shall have the right to proscribe such penalties and obligations upon violators of this act as it shall deem proper and appropriate.

Section 5

If any part, section or phrase of this Act should be found to be in violation of the Constitution, all other provisions of this Act shall remain in force as written and as though the severed part had not originally been included.

This Act supersedes any and all laws which have the effect of limiting eligibility to vote. This applies regardless of the jurisdiction under which such laws fall. All such laws limiting voting rights are null and void immediately upon enactment of this legislation.


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One Response to Voting Rights
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I definitely like your bill. Now all you have to do is get the schmucks in Washington, D.C. to: (a) accept a bill from an outsider that; (b) has no backing from within the congress and; (c) is perhaps the lowest item on the proverbial “shopping list”.