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Voting From The Slammer

Eleven years ago, the Second Circuit en banc rejected the notion that the Voting Rights Act prevents states from disenfranchising convicted felons while they are in prison.  In 2010, a panel rejected the notion that the Constitution requires it.  But no truly bad idea ever completely dies, it seems.  A ballot initiative has been proposed in California to let all felons vote, Patrick McGreevy reports for the L.A. Times.

So candidates for office should make a pitch for the votes of Charles Manson, Lawrence "Pliers" Bittaker, serial abductor/rapist/torturer/murderer Charles Ng, and other multiple murderers?  Prisons are often located in sparsely populated areas, so will prisoners elect their very own member of the county board of supervisors?

The good news is that felon disenfranchisement is in the California Constitution, and they will need 585,407 signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot.  McGreevy notes that this is "a difficult task for a largely grass-roots effort."

Not long ago, I would have predicted that even if it got on the ballot it would be soundly rejected, but given the vote on the addle-brained Proposition 57, I can't be confident of that any more.

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