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View Full Version : Case would let thousands of California criminals vote



pwaldo
04-22-2012, 10:36 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/case-let-thousands-calif-criminals-vote-193650198.html


The nonpartisan League of Women Voters and two prisoners' rights groups sued California elections officials on Wednesday, claiming that tens of thousands of criminals being shifted to county jails and community supervision should be eligible to vote.

The state's new realignment law that took effect in October is sending lower-level offenders to county jails instead of to state prisons, where they are barred from voting. It also ends parole for many ex-convicts, substituting a similar program called "post-release community supervision" instead.

The plaintiffs said more than 85,000 offenders who are no longer in state prison or on parole should be allowed to vote in the June primary election.

They are challenging a memo from Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office that said people who are sentenced to county jail or supervision under realignment are ineligible to vote under California law.

California is one of 48 states and the District of Columbia that prohibit felons while they are incarcerated. The exceptions are Maine and Vermont.

According to The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, 35 states ban parolees from voting and 30 of the same states bar voting by people on probation as well. California permits voting by those on probation who are overseen by county probation officers but prohibits it for those on parole who are supervised by state parole agents. Four states prohibit voting by ex-felons even after they are off parole, while eight others limit when ex-felons can vote.

Felons' voting rights are being debated in statehouses across the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

South Dakota lawmakers have sent the governor a bill to block voting by felons on probation or parole. However, legislators in New Jersey and New York are considering bills that would do the opposite by letting parolees and probationers vote.

Legislation pending in Tennessee would stop requiring that convicts pay their restitution, court costs and child support before they can vote again. But Washington state legislators are considering a bill that would add the same repayment obligations that Tennessee may end.

Some felons could vote absentee from their prison cells under bills introduced in Hawaii and Tennessee. A South Carolina bill would block registered sex offenders from voting at all. Lawmakers in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania could require state officials to help offenders register to vote as they complete their incarceration, probation or parole.

The lawsuit challenging California's practice was filed in the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco against Bowen and John Arntz, director of elections in San Francisco. It asks the court to order elections officials to let citizens vote even if they are incarcerated or supervised at the county level.

The memo written by Bowen's chief legal counsel to county elections officials in December said it shouldn't matter that the lower-level offenders "serve their felony sentences in county jail instead of state prison or ... their release from prison is labeled something other than 'parole.'"

That conflicts with the plain language of the state Constitution and with a 2006 legal decision by the same appeals court, argued the plaintiffs. The Constitution prohibits voting only by those "imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony," neither of which is the case for lower-level criminals under the new law.

Bowen's office said that "imprisoned" is a broader term that can mean incarceration in a local jail as well as a state prison.

"These individuals are 'imprisoned for the conviction of a felony,' but they are not 'in prison for the conviction of a felony,' wrote chief counsel Lowell Finley in the 18-page memo. The memo also argued that parole and post-release community supervision "are functionally equivalent" under the law.

There is no evidence that lawmakers intended to let more criminals vote when they approved the realignment law to save the state money and ease crowding in state prisons, Finley wrote.

Bowen spokeswoman Shannan Velayas declined comment Wednesday, citing the pending lawsuit. However, Bowen reviewed the legal arguments before issuing the memo and "is prepared to litigate them if necessary," Deputy Attorney General Seth Goldstein wrote in a letter this week to the plaintiffs' main attorney. As the state's lawyer, the attorney general will defend Bowen's position.

The ruling disproportionately affects nonwhites because a higher percentage of racial minorities are incarcerated, said Jory Steele of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

duane1969
04-22-2012, 11:28 PM
Yes, because felons in prison should still have the rights that all law-abiding citizens have.

pspstatus
04-23-2012, 12:26 AM
I say if you're incarcerated you forfeit your voting rights. After you've done you're time and paid you're debt voting rights should be re-instated.

duane1969
04-23-2012, 09:42 AM
I say if you're incarcerated you forfeit your voting rights. After you've done you're time and paid you're debt voting rights should be re-instated.

37 states allow some form of voting either immediately after release or after completing probation/parole requirements.

The most strict states are:

Deleware - requires a 5 year wait after release and completion of probation/parole requirements

Florida - must apply for clemency after a 5 year wait

Kentucky - only restored after application is approved by governor

Nebraska - 2 year wait after completion of probation/parole

Virginia- felons convicted of violent crimes, drug crimes or crimes against minors must wait 5 years, apply for reinstatement and be approved by the governor

Wyoming - must wait 5 years after probation/parole and apply to governor

habsheaven
04-23-2012, 10:19 AM
It's really a non-issue. How many law-abiding citizens never vote? Do you think more than 5% - 10% of these people would actually vote?

angel0430
04-23-2012, 10:22 AM
Wether we like it or not they still have rights. Voting is a right...they need to vote on who is going to have the best prison menu...lol

duane1969
04-23-2012, 10:46 AM
Wether we like it or not they still have rights. Voting is a right...they need to vote on who is going to have the best prison menu...lol

I kinda like that other right that they have...the one about remaining silent.

----------------------------------------------

Personally I don't think that someone who committed murder, rape or incest should have say in how our country is run. They clearly can not make good decisions for their own lives, I see no reason why they should have a say in mine.

shrewsbury
04-23-2012, 11:41 AM
rights? you are in prison, you should not have any rights, no religious rights, no special meals, no rights at all.

mrveggieman
04-23-2012, 11:57 AM
rights? you are in prison, you should not have any rights, no religious rights, no special meals, no rights at all.


That reminds me of the story of this clown:

http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2010/01/25/Jailed-Terrorist-Suspect-Will-Only-Eat-Meat.aspx

shrewsbury
04-23-2012, 12:08 PM
violence against animals is eating them? i disagree

but i do like the fact he ain't getting what he wants, only what they offer!

mrveggieman
04-23-2012, 12:17 PM
violence against animals is eating them? i disagree




Animals that are served for food are killed in the most violent ways possible. However I will not turn this into an animal rights/veggie discussion you can continue this if you like on the veggie discussiuon. :typing:

http://www.sportscardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1611476

Star_Cards
04-23-2012, 03:10 PM
I also feel that once you do your time you should be allowed to vote.

I also agree with Habs that these numbers, if allowed to vote, would have little effect in a national election for the most part. I assume that way more than 85,000 law abiding citizens in california abstain from voting. I also wonder how many of those 85,000 would even vote. Not really the point when it comes to being allowed or not, but still an interesting question.

shrewsbury
04-23-2012, 03:18 PM
even a child molester, drug dealer, or rapist? i know a convicted CM never gets all their rights back, even where they can live, so why should they be allowed to vote?

Star_Cards
04-23-2012, 04:31 PM
even a child molester, drug dealer, or rapist? i know a convicted CM never gets all their rights back, even where they can live, so why should they be allowed to vote?

hmm... I'm not sure where I'd draw the line. drug dealer... sure. I could see a valid argument for more violent criminals to have the right taken away forever, but for most nonviolent criminals I feel they should get their right to vote back once they have done their time. I don't have a problem with child molesters not getting that right back. Although that doesn't mean all registered sex offenders shouldn't have their right to vote. Just adding that in because not all RSO's are molesters and rapists.

duane1969
04-23-2012, 07:01 PM
Most states allow for non-violent offenders to vote after release. The issue that these groups are taking to task is their opinion that convicted criminals who are still incarcerated in local and regional jails or still on parole should get to vote.


They are challenging a memo from Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office that said people who are sentenced to county jail or supervision under realignment are ineligible to vote under California law.

theonedru
04-23-2012, 07:39 PM
Every citizen of this country regardless of criminal record or whatever circumstances should have the right to vote.

duane1969
04-23-2012, 08:22 PM
Every citizen of this country regardless of criminal record or whatever circumstances should have the right to vote.

So people in prison serving time for felonies should get to vote? Based on what?

theonedru
04-23-2012, 08:27 PM
So people in prison serving time for felonies should get to vote? Based on what?

They are still citizens, why should they lose their right to vote? Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

pspstatus
04-23-2012, 09:07 PM
They are still citizens, why should they lose their right to vote? Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...


That's not a horrible idea. It would beat taxpayers paying 30 grand a year to keep child molesters, gangbangers, and murderers fed.

duane1969
04-23-2012, 10:02 PM
They are still citizens, why should they lose their right to vote? Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Ever hear of the term reductio ad absurdum? In essence, it is attempting to prove you are right by issuing some absurd statement as argument against opposition. It always fails because of the absurdity and audacity of the statement.

Using your logic...

Murderers should have the right to own guns. We should even hand out guns in prison. Why not just strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Child molesters should not be excluded from getting jobs as daycare providers, school teachers and counselors or hanging out around parks and playgrounds. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Rapist should be considered for jobs such as female college dorm monitors and other jobs that put them in 1 on 1 situations with defenseless, unsuspecting women. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

reductio ad absurdum

theonedru
04-23-2012, 10:14 PM
Ever hear of the term reductio ad absurdum? In essence, it is attempting to prove you are right by issuing some absurd statement as argument against opposition. It always fails because of the absurdity and audacity of the statement.

Using your logic...

Murderers should have the right to own guns. We should even hand out guns in prison. Why not just strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Child molesters should not be excluded from getting jobs as daycare providers, school teachers and counselors or hanging out around parks and playgrounds. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Rapist should be considered for jobs such as female college dorm monitors and other jobs that put them in 1 on 1 situations with defenseless, unsuspecting women. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

reductio ad absurdum

How about a logical response then.....

gladdyontherise
04-23-2012, 10:17 PM
Ever hear of the term reductio ad absurdum? In essence, it is attempting to prove you are right by issuing some absurd statement as argument against opposition. It always fails because of the absurdity and audacity of the statement.

Using your logic...

Murderers should have the right to own guns. We should even hand out guns in prison. Why not just strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Child molesters should not be excluded from getting jobs as daycare providers, school teachers and counselors or hanging out around parks and playgrounds. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

Rapist should be considered for jobs such as female college dorm monitors and other jobs that put them in 1 on 1 situations with defenseless, unsuspecting women. Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

reductio ad absurdum

I see what you did here, and you are spot on here. Those who break the law do not deserve the same rights as those of us who follow the law and don't do things like kill or abuse.

duane1969
04-23-2012, 11:47 PM
How about a logical response then.....

Your assertion that convicted felons either get all of their rights or they should be stripped of all rights and their citizenship is illogical and does not warrant a logical response.


I see what you did here, and you are spot on here. Those who break the law do not deserve the same rights as those of us who follow the law and don't do things like kill or abuse.

Exactly. Just as they forfeit many of their other rights, they forfeit their right to take part in the democratic process until theu have proven they can be a productive successful member of society.

Star_Cards
04-24-2012, 11:06 AM
They are still citizens, why should they lose their right to vote? Why not strip them of their citizenship and cast them in a boat into open sea...

I don't think that taking the right to vote away from an incarcerated person or a person on parole or probation is anything similar to taking away their citizenship and booting them out of the country. I do think that once their time is served, they should be allowed to vote again. I could also live with certain crimes warranting that right to vote being taken away completely. Mostly I lean towards the majority having their right once they have done their time. Most of the criminals that have done heinous crimes are typically locked up for longs amounts of time anyways.

habsheaven
04-24-2012, 11:22 AM
I would like to know what the intent of the law was to begin with? Why is it necessary to take away a convicts right to vote? Is it simply a case of not wanting to pay for the costs associated with setting up a voting apparatus in the jails? Why should a person currently serving time and being released in December not be allowed to vote in November in an election that is going to affect the next 4 years of their lives? When someone is convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time they do not lose ALL their rights, so why do they lose this one? Just curious.

shrewsbury
04-24-2012, 11:30 AM
obviously their decision making can be considered flawed (that's why they are locked up) so why should a known criminal be allowed to vote and effect all of us americans when they can't make a good decision for themselves?

mrveggieman
04-24-2012, 12:13 PM
I don't have a problem with sex offenders, people who hurt or kill children or people who commit hate crimes having some if not all or their rights taken away from them but not all criminals who have served their time should have their right to vote taken away from them. For example someone mentioned drug dealers. Yes a drug dealer who murdered a child is a scumbag and should not be able to vote but the college kid who sells weed to his friends to pay some of his school expenses should not be branded as a hardened criminal just becaue of him doing what he had to do to get by.

Star_Cards
04-24-2012, 01:40 PM
definitely a difference in drug dealers. some violent and some not. I don't think the motive of the drug dealer should matter although there are levels of punishment depending what you're dealing and...

duane1969
04-24-2012, 03:46 PM
All states allow convicts who have done their time to vote, either immediately upon release or after a waiting period. The issue at hand is a movement to allow criminals currently housed in local and...

shrewsbury
04-24-2012, 04:09 PM
incarcerated=no vote

if you are dumb enough or unlucky enough to get busted for something then you don't deserve to vote

dui or stealing a $1 drink, if you are in lock down, then you shouldn't be able to vote.

habsheaven
04-24-2012, 04:11 PM
incarcerated=no vote

if you are dumb enough or unlucky enough to get busted for something then you don't deserve to vote

dui or stealing a $1 drink, if you are in lock down, then you shouldn't be able to vote.

Why though? What is the reasoning?

shrewsbury
04-24-2012, 04:17 PM
because you don't respect the laws of the society you are in, so why should you be able to influence them through voting?

duane1969
04-24-2012, 05:56 PM
Why though? What is the reasoning?

I know this wasn't asked of me, but I wanted to reply (big surprise, huh?)

To me, voting is a right protected by the law. When you break a law that warrants incarceration then you forfeit rights afforded to you by the law except those that specifically address your rights while incarcerated.

Violating someone else's right to life, right to safety, right to sleeping at night without nightmares, right to not have their home broken into, right to drive on streets without drunk drivers, right to a drug-free community, etc. and then thinking that you have a right to vote is ludicrous, in my opinion.

If criminals want the right to vote then they first need to stop violating other people's rights.

habsheaven
04-24-2012, 08:07 PM
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with them having to forfeit this right, it just strikes me funny that this right gets taken away. As if any of them care anyway.

duane1969
04-24-2012, 09:27 PM
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with them having to forfeit this right, it just strikes me funny that this right gets taken away. As if any of them care anyway.

I doubt if they cared before they got in trouble. Now that they are in prison 24/365 they would probably all want to vote just to break the monotony of their boring, structured daily life.