Voting Rights for Virginia Felons
Last comment by SusanS 1 year, 9 months ago.

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Well, the governor of Virginia has restored voting rights for felons who have served their sentences and been released. Immediately, and as expected, right wing pundits decry this as a Democratic ploy to get more votes for Hillary. Who are they kidding? Folks, let's face reality. They're felons, certainly not all for violent crimes but felons none the less. How many do you really think are going to rush right out and register to vote? Considering the abysmal voter turnout for those Americans who are not former felons, my guess is about 15%. Doesn't mean they'll vote since so few registered voters do. And besides, do the pundits think only Democrats commit felonies? I bet Bernie Madoff never in his life voted for a Democrat.
Personally, I agree with Virginia's governor. If someone has paid their debt to society then they should be able to vote if they choose to do so.


Latest Activity: Apr 27, 2016 at 2:03 PM


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spellbound commented on Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:19 PM

Bryant...I anticipate a response to your blog that disagrees with the Virginia governor's decision, so let me add to your answer. Virginia now joins 39 other states that allow citizens who have paid (or are paying: Maine and Vermont allow felons who are still serving their sentences to vote!!!)their societal debt to vote. The Virginia decision requires not only that incarceration be completed, but that terms of parole or probation be satisfied. In addition, any financial restitution must be completed. Virginia is just catching up with their neighbors and entering the 21st Century. I've noticed that media sources who are griping about this somehow leave out the state scorecard when they toss red meat to their audience. P.S. Virginia now allows what Georgia has already allowed.

spellbound commented on Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:27 PM

Additional P.S. Virginia now allows what North Carolina has allowed for a while now. North Carolina just doesn't allow them to go to the bathroom.

Ironside commented on Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 09:03 AM

Once again, we see the Liberal Left’s ignorance and disregard for our Constitution. What Gov. McAuliffe did is un-Constitutional.
The 14th Amendment states “except for participation in rebellion, or other crime”. If a Liberal Leftist Governor, wants to give the right to vote to felons, he needs to get a Constitutional Amendment passed that changes the 14th Amendment which prohibits it.
Nice try guys, but again you show your ignorance about our Constitution.

Scindapsus commented on Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:51 PM

Hey, guess what? The Constitution doesn't actually prohibit felons from voting!!!

Full text version of the relevant section of the 14th amendment:
“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.”

Removing the secondary clauses, here is the core statement:
‘WHEN the right to vote is denied or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the BASIS OF REPRESENTATION SHALL BE REDUCED PROPORTIONALLY.’

The bottom line: the Constitution DOES NOT forbid felons from voting. The 14th amendment says that WHEN you prevent people from voting THEN your state’s representation will be reduced accordingly, EXCEPT IF you exclude them because they are criminals. As written, the 14th amendment ALLOWS states to deny felons the right to vote, but in no way does it REQUIRE them to do so.

Ironside commented on Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 10:47 AM

No, again you are wrong.The clause "except for participation in rebellion,or other crime" is the limiting factor. These are the people the Constitution denies the right to vote!

Again, nice try, but it does allow those who read this blog to see the truth in what our Constitution says.

Liberal Democrats must get a Constitutional Amendment passed to change the 14th Amendment to allow felons the right to vote.You have every right to hold your opinion that felons should have the right to vote, but you can not legally allow them to vote without changing the 14th Amendment.

Scindapsus commented on Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 11:37 AM

I realize from your previous posts that syntax is not your strong suit, which is why I laid out my claim in some detail. I provided the original wording, which first of all shows that the objective of the section was to change/clarify how representatives are apportioned, not to change/clarify who can and cannot vote. Next, I traced the structure of the original sentence to show that the exception to which you refer excludes this class not from voting, but rather from reducing that state's basis for representation if that state denies them the right to vote.

Let's try this. Here's the original wording, unchanged except that I replaced secondary clauses and phrases with three-dot ellipses:

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote ... is denied ... or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced ...”

Rather than your usual "You're liberal, you're wrong," how about trying to demonstrate your claim for a change?

Incidentally, given that the Amendment refers to participation in "crime," not "felony," doesn't your (erroneous) interpretation mean that anyone convicted of misdemeanors or infractions would also be ineligible to vote?

Ironside commented on Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 22:47 PM

1.I know it is hard for Liberals to understand that you have to get a Constitutional Amendment to change the Constitution. A Governor can not change the Constitution.
2. Article I SECTION 4 gives the States the responsibility for holding elections and controlling who is eligible to vote based on Article I section 2. States can require voter ID, or deny felons the right to vote as the "crime"stated in the 14th Amendment.
3. Yes a State could pass a law that denies anyone convicted of a crime the right to vote, but the States have limited the use of "crime" to major crimes that are felonies.Participation in Rebellion is a serious crime and felonies are serious crimes. States have chosen not to use misdemeanors, but could, although a State Legislature that tried to pass such a law, would be run out of office by the people.

Scindapsus commented on Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 23:25 PM

1. I did ask you to for once skip the "You're liberal, you're wrong" reflex, but you're, er, constitutionally unable to do so, aren't you? In any case, I do understand that changing the Constitution requires a Constitutional amendment, and that governors can't do so. I also understand that the Governor of Virginia did not do so, because, as you yourself note in your second point, the Constitution does not deny felons the right to vote, but it does allow states to do so without losing Congressional representation.

2. Right, so the Constitution gives the states the responsibility to decide whether felons are eligible to vote. The Governor of the state of Virginia made this call. 39 other states have previously made this same call. Which the Constitution entitles them to do. As you yourself have just said ("States can ... deny felons the right to vote as the "crime"stated in the 14th Amendment."). "Can" does not mean "must." You do understand that, don't you?

3. We're in agreement here, too: as written, the Constitution implies that states CAN deny you the right to vote for as little as a parking ticket without losing Congressional representation, but they are not REQUIRED to do so. Just like states are not REQUIRED to deny voting rights to people who are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies, but they COULD do so if they wanted to. Because the Constitution does not set different conditions based on different levels of criminality.

So now we've reached the sad point where you are arguing with yourself: you say that the Governor of the State of Virginia is violating the Constitution by relaxing a restriction that you agree the Constitution never REQUIRED in the first place'!

Ironside commented on Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 12:13 PM

1. The State Legislature establishes through law, that felons cannot vote, not a Governor, and they must deny felons the right to vote to meet the requirement of the 14th Amendment.
2. A State cannot ignore "crime" and allow any criminal to vote that has been convicted of a felony. Just because some have, does not make it right or Constitutional. Felons fall into the definition of "crime" and cannot vote based on the 14th Amendment. Misdemeanors are not serious crimes. Participation in rebellion, or other "crime" meaning serious crime, felonies, are what can be used to deny a person the right to vote.
3. Participation in rebellion, or other "crime" are together and both are serious crime. The word "crime" with no modifiers to further describe the definition of "crime", as murder, rape ect., is because a crime like terrorism (something more resent) has been added as a felony, and States need this flexibility. Using the word “crime” gives the States the flexibility to add or delete certain crime as being serious making it a felony. Example: States have lowered possession of an ounce of weed from a felony to a misdemeanor, and could go back to making it a felony if drug use gets out of control because they lowered the charge to a misdemeanor. That is why they used the word “crime” instead of listing all the serious crimes of their day that would be included with participation in rebellion.
4. My statement that any “crime” could be used to deny a person their right to vote was to point out that the Conservative Right could do what the Liberal Left has been doing for decades, and twist the meaning of the word “crime” found in the 14th Amendment to mean any crime, no matter how minor. No, a State cannot use a J-walking misdemeanor charge to deny a person their right to vote, because it is not a serious crime. Felonies or participation in rebellion are the only “crime”, serious crime, that the 14th Amendment speaks too.

Scindapsus commented on Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 15:51 PM

Well, if you can't see the contradiction between "The Constitution gives states the right to deny voting to felons" and "The Constitution requires states to deny voting to felons," then all I can say is: hey, Ironside, the Constitution also gives you the right to remain silent!

Ironside commented on Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 16:42 PM

I do not expect you to agree with the Constitution because it doesn't give your Liberal Democrat Governor in Virginia the right to allow felons to vote for Democrats. That is why you can not accept what the Constitution says. It is about getting more votes for Democrats to gain more political power. Leftists can not stand that the Constitution keeps getting in their way of total control of the government.

spellbound commented on Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 18:40 PM

Ironside: The extremely liberal (sarcasm) states of Ark., Geo., Kan., LA., N.C., S.C., and Texas have the same or a more inclusive law about voting that Virginia has now. My suggestion is leave this discussion and blog in newspapers in those states concerning the constitutionality of their laws. I doubt many of them are trying to manipulate the law to help out Democrats to gain votes. Please admit that what you see as logic is conservatives=good and liberals=evil. That's your argument; the details don't matter.

Ironside commented on Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 23:04 PM

Again, States that allow felons to vote are violating the Constitution.I don't care what State is doing it, it is wrong.

No, it is not conservatives=good and liberal=evil. It is Liberal Progressive Democrats and Liberal Progressive Republicans that equal the destruction of the country as founded. Both Parties' "Establishment" equals Socialism/Communism.

Bryant commented on Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 15:53 PM

I wasn't even trolling and look what I caught. Ironside, brush up on your reading comprehension.

Ironside commented on Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 18:34 PM

Care to say something of substance.

FrankCostanzasLawyer commented on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:15 AM

Ironside,

Have you filed a lawsuit to correct this injustice in Georgia? If you believe it's unconstitutional, why have you not fought to correct this injustice? After all, any felon voting calls in to question the sanctity of the election and thus the legitimacy of the very governments of the local, state and federal level. Clearly as a citizen of the state, you'd have standing to challenge this. Why sit idly by?

Ironside commented on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 11:11 AM

Frank: Your the lawyer. The problem with your idea is that the judges are no more interested in what is Constitutional than you are. You and them are all lawyers. So many of them today are Liberal Progressives themselves, and believe that they can make the Constitution say anything they wish it to say. All you have to do is look to Justice Roberts' decision on Obamacare.

FrankCostanzasLawyer commented on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 11:50 AM

So, "I believe strongly this is ruining the country but not enough to try to do anything about it."

Does that pretty much sum up your position on this?

Ironside commented on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:25 PM

The American people are taking back their government from a corrupt ruling political class, the Liberal Progressive Left. They will reverse the damage done by Obama and his radical Leftist Communists. I look forward to the rejection of the Left and it's Politically Correct BS.

Turn out the lights, the party is over!

Bryant commented on Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 11:08 AM

Ironside,responding to your comment to me from May 3rd, you start first.

Ironside commented on Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Bryant: You need to brush up on reading and comprehension of the Constitution.

Scindapsus commented on Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 12:21 PM

What's weird, but hardly surprising, is that no one else, no matter how furious they are at the idea of ex-cons voting, is making the claim that the U.S. Constitution forbids states from letting ex-cons vote. There are lots of angry accusations that the VA gov's executive order violated the Virginia Constitution, and lots who argue that felons either should never be allowed to vote or should have to prove their worth first, but all of these still acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution allows states to make the call.

So Ironside, your reading comprehension skills are apparently, er, unique!

Ironside commented on Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 17:59 PM

States do make the call as to what "Crime" is a felony. I made this statement above, states have lowered the charge of possession of an once of weed to a misdemeanor. However, any felony under State law meets the Constitutional definition of "Crime" in the Constitution, and these persons can not vote.

I have stated over and over again that very few people today have studied our Constitution as it was studied years ago. We have today the blind leading the blind. Here is an example of what I mean.

1. Who created the Federal Government?
2. Are the States subordinate to the Federal Government or superior to the Federal Government?
3. Why do the States have their own court system including a State Supreme Court?

I could ask a thousand lawyers and a thousand politicians these three simple questions and would be shocked if one knew the answers.

Again, it is the blind leading the blind.This is how Freedom can be destroyed.

Scindapsus commented on Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 22:59 PM

So to be clear (a hopeless task when you are concerned, I fear), you are, apparently, the only person in the country that thinks that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids states from allowing criminals to vote. At least I can find no one else making this argument, and the reason I find this weird is that if it were true it would make a far more compelling argument than the "felons, you can't trust them, can you?" or the "VA governor can't issue executive orders" claims that people who agree with your "no felons" sentiment are making.

And clearly it doesn't matter to you that no one else reads the 14th Amendment this way, although it's difficult for me to imagine that anyone this side of Donald Trump would consider themselves so much smarter than the rest of humanity! The problem is that the grammatical construction of the 14th Amendment simply cannot support the meaning that you assign it. Grammar has never been your friend, but this is getting embarrassing.

Ironside commented on Friday, May 06, 2016 at 14:14 PM

1. What was the legal bases used by the State of Virginia to deny felons the right to vote prior to the Governor’s executive order?
2. What you are saying is an opinion. What I am stating is a fact found in the 14th Amendment.
3. The 14th Amendment is a reaction to the carnage of the Civil War. Most families, both North and South suffered a death or serious injury to a husband, father, son, brother, or uncle. The worst crime a person could commit in 1868 was the crime of engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The American people did not want these criminals involved in our government or voting for our government. They also saw other major “crimes” (felonies) as fitting the same category. You nor the Governor of Virginia can change the 14th Amendment based on an opinion. It takes a Constitutional Amendment to change the 14th Amendment, and until that happens, felons by Constitutional law can not vote.

Bryant commented on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 14:37 PM

This thread is done. My original point that this was a fart in a whirlwind (or tempest in a teapot, if you prefer)has been lost in the noise - and Ironside's unique understanding (interpretation)of the Constitution.

Ironside commented on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 16:31 PM

Care to answer my 3 questions on the Constitution?

SusanS commented on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 12:34 PM

So, I may be the only woman on this particular blog post...but I'm going to put in my two cents and hope that you "gentlemen" can be respectful in your responses.
First..... I just want to point out the ridiculous sarcasm and sharp words you all are using with each other. Can we have a civil discussion? And don't say "He started it" cuz we're not twelve.
Scind.... you are exceptionally at fault in that area. Make your point with respect and maybe people will listen.
This is just my take on this topic having grown up with a dad who was a history teacher and a walking encyclopedia when it comes to history, government, and the constitution.
(And he's not a republican just to clarify)
The 14th amendment did in fact set up the loss of voting rights for men who had committed crimes and were found guilty. Do I agree with that? Not if they serve their time and reform themselves.... the latter being most important. It was put in place when our country was smaller and the right to vote was very precious. It was done so with the hope that people would think twice about a crime they might be about to commit because they cared so much about having the right to vote.today, we take this right for granted.
There will always be those who will Sound off loudly in protest of anything anyone says. So why do we have to jump on that bandwagon and make them credible?
I sort of choose to ignore those int he media who make a bigger deal out of things than needs to be made. Ie: this bathroom thing.... just use the stinkin bathroom and shut up about it!
(I always knew things with our Fed would eventually come right down to poop!)
So while you all argue back and forth and attack each other (unnecessary) I'm hoping I can add a bit of humor and also maybe a bit of "Can we stop calling names, labeling each other, and just have civil discussion? Is that possible? And again, don't say "well He.... because each of us is responsible for our own tongue."
PS.... Truth... you can't change an amendment without more than 2/3's vote from the states to change it. You need a Constitutional Convention to achieve it.
Also.... I actually view the governor of VA as more of a center line politician versus right or left. Many Virginia governors see to fall there.


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