What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Asking the Wrong Questions!!!

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote this article on how the NEW statewide voter system that we spent almost $24 million on with a full $1 million to clean up the mistakes in the felon lists that are preventing eligible voters from voting at the polls.

This was the point of the felon lists in the first place! Not only to disfranchise voters prevented by current law from voting, but the intent of the entire facade is to disenfranchise as many people in Wisconsin's poor and minority communities as possible by as many discouraging methods as can be stacked up on top of each other.

My favorite is "lions and tigers and bears" or the "Oh my God felons are voting" syndrome. The funny thing is, felons vote all over this country, yeah the rules vary by state with some bringing the voting booths in the prisons and everyone votes, but the problem in Wisconsin isn't the millions we are paying Accenture (the company famed for it's work on voting lists in Florida) to compile faulty lists, it that no one asks the right questions...

Why can't felons out of prison vote? What is the purpose of creating that confusion at the polls? Why is our electoral system in Wisconsin so confusing??? Who (what communities) is affected more significantly?

Millions of dollars to keep a meer 40,000 Wisconsin citizens from being good citizens and responsible members of our communities... Where is the sense in that?

Just pass AB390 already. This whole discussion would disappear if Wisconsin would allow felons to vote immediately upon release. No more felon lists, no more Accenture who hasn't put together a correct list yet, and isn't expected to...

Stop the messing around, spending craploads of our money (somehow people miss the fact that if it's Fed money instead of state money, it's still OUR money).

Give felons the right to vote upon release like they do in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and many other states around the country.

When felons vote, studies show they reoffend less often...

The papers need to start asking the right questions.


Anonymous said...

Your article seems to simply 'throw up your hands in disgust' with a simple solution o allowing felons to vote.
Probabtion is a major component of any crime, and no felon should vote until all punishments are completed.

The simple solution is to require single paper ballots, which are numbered, and validated on voter lists. Dump digital voting machines completely.
Write it off as a stupid project.

If there are felons, those votes should be vetted within a day or two, after an election. Especially new registrations, of any kind.

The solution, is not in the process, but rather in getting the results faster than is reasonable.

Forcing all election results to not have any declaration or public posting, until at least noon on the following day, would allow such vetting to take place. Now we are rushing the results, to keep media happy.

The Clerks offices can make the announcement, but should also announce the number of votes that are under question/suspect.

So what if we wait a day or two?

Crawford's Take said...

There is NO sound reason to ban felons from voting.

In Maine and Vermont, they bring the voting booths into the prisons and EVERYONE votes.

In 14 states including IL, MI, IN, OH, PA our neighbors, felons are allowed to vote immediately upon release from prison.

Historically the ONLY reason felond disfranchisement laws became popular was because they were the cornerstone of Jim Crow in the South and the most effective of the laws to bar minorities from the voting booths.

Beyond that, felons who vote actually reoffend less!!!

97% of felons in Wisconsin are convicted of non-violent crimes (drug possession, financial fraud, white collar crimes, etc...).

The baseline reason to keep them from voting (punishment and deterrance) actually have no basis in fact.

The fact is that encouraging civic participation helps these people regain their sense of community and take ownership and responsibility for their neighbors and friends.

So if deterrance is NOT a valid argument to disfranchise minorities, then all we have left is punishment. Our criminal justice system is intended to rehabilitate once someone is released from prison. Punishment stops at the prison door...

Do we want to punish or rehabilitate? I would prefer the latter since as a society, we would all be so much better off!

I jump to AB390 because we in Wisconsin are better than that. We have a proud tradition of fairness and justice. These are people who live, work, raise families and pay taxes in our community and have been deemed by our court system as safe to return to society and start rebuilding their lives. Yet, they cannot vote for the school board member who will decide their children's education.

Our founding fathers fought a war of independence largely due to a phrase we all know and cherish "taxation without representation". Using some misguided form of "punishment" that disrespects our founding father's intentions is un-American and unjust.

I can give you 30 more reasons why this is a better solution. Interested in more? Post back.