Attorney General Eric Holder called on a group of states Tuesday to restore voting rights to ex-felons, part of a push to fix what he sees as flaws in the criminal justice system that have a disparate impact on racial minorities.
“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said during a speech at a criminal justice reform event hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday. “They undermine the reentry process and defy the principles of accountability and rehabilitation that guide our criminal justice policies. And however well-intentioned current advocates of felony disenfranchisement may be, the reality is that these measures are, at best, profoundly outdated.”
From the Washington Post:
Holder said that current laws forbidding felons from voting make it harder for them to reintegrate into society. He pointed to a recent study, which showed that felons in Florida who were granted the right to vote again had a lower recidivism rate. …
Holder does not have the authority to force states to change their laws, but his request could influence the debate to restore voting rights. His appeal is part of a broader effort currently underway by the Justice Department to reform the criminal justice system, which U.S. officials say often treats minority groups unfairly.
Eleven states currently restrict voting rights after a person has been released from prison and is no longer on probation and parole. These laws affect about 5.8 million Americans. It’s estimated that 2.2 million are black citizens—or nearly one in 13 African-American adults.
“It is unwise, it is unjust, and it is not in keeping with our democratic values,” Holder said. “These laws deserve to be not only reconsidered, but repealed.”
article via clutchmagonline.com
WASHINGTON (AP) — On April 4th, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Attorney General Eric Holder challenged the Supreme Court to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or part of 15 states with a history of discrimination to get federal clearance before carrying out changes in elections.
Holder made the comments Thursday in a speech to a civil rights group whose founder and president is the Rev. Al Sharpton. Focusing on issues he regards as important during President Barack Obama’s second term in office, Holder vowed to protect the voting rights of all Americans, safeguard young people from gun violence and improve the criminal justice system.
Opponents of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 say the pre-clearance requirement has outlived its usefulness. Starting in 2009, the Supreme Court made clear its skepticism about the present-day need for the provision. The court is considering a challenge on the issue from Shelby County, Ala., near Birmingham.
Continue reading “Eric Holder Wants Voting Rights Act Provision Upheld by Supreme Court”
Joanna Jenkins, a 108-year-old woman from Beaufort, South Carolina, is about to vote for the first time in her life. After passing up her right for decades, she was finally compelled to cast her ballot after following this year’s presidential election and debates. Not only does she suddenly want to vote, but Jenkins’ cousin Shirley Lee says she’s excited about doing so and sharing the good news with everyone who visits.
“The act of registering to vote… gives one a sense of being. The black man who goes to register is saying to the white man, ‘No.'”
–Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture, former leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and honorary prime minister of the Black Panther Party
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s tough new voter identification law has received the state-issued photo ID card necessary to vote, despite saying she’d been rejected for years because she lacked appropriate documentation to receive the card.
Viviette Applewhite, who recalled marching for voting rights in 1960 with Martin Luther King Jr., was issued the temporary card on Thursday, the same day lawyers for her and others opposing the law appealed a judge’s refusal to halt the law from taking effect in the Nov. 6 presidential election. Continue reading “Viviette Applewhite, 93-year-old Plaintiff In Pa. Voter ID Case, Gets Card Amid Appeal”
“Whether you have a Ph.D., or a D.D. or no D., we’re in this together. Whether you’re from Morehouse or No house, we’re in this bag together.”
–Fannie Lou Hamer, civil and voting rights activist