Enfranchising felons who have served their sentences is a highly partisan issue in America, because people assume that they would vote Democratic. The head of Alabama's Republican party once said, "As frank as I can be, we’re opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don’t tend to vote Republican."
But is that true?
According to Traci Burch, it is not. She minutely studied the 2000 Bush-Gore election in Florida and concluded that Bush would have won the felon's vote.
Remember, first of all, that a majority of American felons are white, and most of them are male. White men tend to vote Republican.
Remember also that in some places felons can vote after a period of time, and that in others certain felons (thieves, minor drug dealers) can vote very quickly. So they can be studied. The data show that, first of all, felons are not great voters; roughly 10% turn out in Presidential election years, even in states that make an effort to tell them they are eligible. Not very invested in the system, I guess. But to the extent that they do vote, they are not noticeably different from other men of their race, class, and age.
So this whole partisan wrangle about felons' voting rights is based on a mistake.
Personally I support voting rights for everyone, whether they vote for my side or not, because I just like for people to vote. But I confess I was surprised by this finding, and that always makes me wonder what other things I am getting wrong.
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The head of Alabama's Republican party once said, "As frank as I can be, we’re opposed to [restoring voting rights] because felons don’t tend to vote Republican."
It astounds me how openly the Republicans admit to trying to game the system, and how mercenary their decision making process is - not just in regards to felons, but also race, jerrymandering, voter suppression, etc.
What astounds me more is that most people don't respond to that information with disgust and disdain. It's a direct attack on our nation's democracy. How can we tolerate a political party that works to suppress American rights when it serves their interest, and then reverses policy the moment it's more profitable for them to do so? How can we allow people to act in such bad faith and get away with it?
Well, I guess we usually are surprised by being wrong, because we are wrong when we don't know we are wrong :D
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