Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beat Down the Vote

I have previously complained about the silly laws that deny FORMER convicts the right to vote. Such laws make no practical sense and are instituted for reasons that range from easy legislation (more punishment!) to outright attempts at voter suppression (the poor and minorities being overrepresented in the legal system).

But take a look at this story:

Ms. Prude’s path to jail began after she attended a Democratic rally in Milwaukee featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton in late 2004. Along with hundreds of others, she marched to City Hall and registered to vote. Soon after, she sent in an absentee ballot.

Four years earlier, though, Ms. Prude had been convicted of trying to cash a counterfeit county government check worth $1,254. She was placed on six years’ probation.

Ms. Prude said she believed that she was permitted to vote because she was not in jail or on parole, she testified in court. Told by her probation officer that she could not vote, she said she immediately called City Hall to rescind her vote, a step she was told was not necessary.

“I made a big mistake, like I said, and I truly apologize for it,” Ms. Prude said during her trial in 2005. That vote, though, resulted in a felony conviction and sent her to jail for violating probation.
What total bullshit. The woman paid her debt to society, now leave her the fuck alone assholes.

Josh Marshall also points us to this gem that, while not directly related to post-conviction harassment, is another example of using silly voting laws as a brutal hammer:

Another example is that of Pakistani immigrant Usman Ali. He'd been in the US for ten years and owned a jewelry store. He was in line one day at the DMV when a clerk put a registration form in front of him along with other forms. Ali hastily filled it out. He never made any attempt to vote. But the mistake got him deported back to Pakistan where he's now trying to rebuild his life with his US citizen wife and daughter.

We're certainly lucky to be rid of Mr. Ali and his efforts to undermine our democracy.
Again, what bullshit. Land of the free, indeed.

But this is a very effective voter suppression tactic. If there is any chance you might be in violation of the law, why take a risk in voting? How many of Ms. Prudes friends will just pass on taking a ballot on the off-chance that there is something in their past that might land them in jail again by doing so? Ali’s story might make even eligible (citizen) immigrants think twice about voting, fearing a technicality might bite them in the ass later. This stuff is just awful.

Read all of Marshall’s post on this topic and be prepared to not be surprised where a lot of this bogus “voter fraud” crap is coming from. He’s been tracking this nonsense as part of his (and the Talking Points Memo operation’s) superior coverage of the U.S. Attorneys General scandal.

1 comment:

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