It isn't limited to just voting rights either. Look into the push-back in Arkansas over a ballot measure passed last year to raise the minimum wage.
I know there is a large partisan divide, but one of these parties is for enfranchisement and the other one is trying their hardest to keep all those felons from voting.
Apparently they have to complete all terms of their sentences:
> > No. 4 Constitutional Amendment Article VI, Section 4. Voting Restoration Amendment This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.
Voter ID laws have been enshrined in some states through ballot measures voted on by the public, for example.
Not only that, turnout and money in politics are arguably more of a priority to tackle, in that they would make addressing voter ID laws or gerrymandering much easier.
Overall I'm not sure her "plans" to solve these issues goes far enough, or gives enough detail of how they would be executed.
SCOTUS essentially said "this is out of date, therefore unenforceable." Then challenged congress to pass an updated one, but they have not. Some of the stuff going on was illegal under the VRA for the states it touched. I'd like to see them pass an updated one that impacts all 50 states equally, it would be much harder for SCOTUS to find it outdated then.
Like most Presidential plans, it requires Congressional support, but beyond that it's not unusually difficult; while the feds can't do it for all elections easily, Art. I S4 gives Congress the power to make or alter regularions for House elections superceding state rules and Congress can also adjust the safe harbor rules for considering Presidential electoral votes properly given to use Presidential elections as a hammer, and states are unlikely to separate out qualifications for different offices to limit the effect of such federal regulations, because it would radically increase the administrative complexity of elections.
I do think money in politics is a big issue but with Citizens United it's hard to do anything about that since "spending money is speech" means there's very very little wiggle room in the 1st amendment for putting a stopper on the geyser of corporate money. 
 Is a real messy problem. Personally I think corporations getting the full rights of citizens is a bit bonkers and I wish there was an easy way to draw a line between people collectively pooling their money for speech and a corporation doing the same thing. Maybe some test around profit making or something to tamp down on the feedback loop of companies spending money to make way more money in return from legislative changes.
The Federal government reigns supreme.
FiveThirtyEight did a good podcast series on gerrymandering that discusses a lot of these problems (and potential solutions to them): https://fivethirtyeight.com/tag/the-gerrymandering-project/
Another nice side-effect is that proportional representation breaks the two-party system.
This interacts especially poorly with first past the post.
Suppose you have a state which is 60% Republican and has 10 districts. Do you draw 10 districts that are each 60% Republican? Then the Republicans may get all 10 seats, but in theory the Democrats at least have a chance in any given district, so nobody can do anything too outrageous or they could still be ousted. Whereas if you draw the districts along party lines then you get 6 Republicans and 4 Democrats but they're all safe seats which means that nobody is really accountable to the voters anymore.
Switch to range voting and the problem goes away, because two closely aligned candidates no longer split the vote which means there is no longer any such thing as a safe seat, nor can one side or the other claim disproportionately many seats because more closely balanced districts would elect centrists.
We've got SCOTUS precedent for this sort of thing:
In a perfect world ID laws could be ok but it would require a huge project to ensure every legal voter had some form of ID, eg. going door to door to ensure people who have trouble getting to out of the way DMV locations don't get left out and assistance with gathering any required documents, so far none of them have included this crucial step. It doesn't help that the number of voter fraud incidents is vanishingly small so the supposed issue voter ID laws are supposed to be addressing is a lie.
Here in France: when I move to a new city I go register with an ID. Then before elections I receive a voting card. Also: elections are on Sunday so most working people can go vote if they want to.
That would help a lot and I'd love to see it but it only deals with one side and doesn't solve the issue of people who are legally able to vote but don't have a current ID.
I'd also love to see election day moved to a Sunday or be made a federal holiday with some requirement that everyone be given sufficient (potentially paid?) time to vote.
No. First thing to understand is you are required to have a valid ID (ID card, passport or driver's license) so almost everyone has at least an ID card (even children).
You have to go register to be able to vote in a city. You don't have to change when you move but it is easier to vote where you live instead of going back to where you lived 3 years ago.
For instance imagine that the voting enrollment office is 30km from your work/home and that it is only open during work hours. It is likely that poor people/people without a car/etc would not enroll.
Without an ID, how do people at polling places know they're a legal voter?
Using the honor system made sense a century or two ago when most people lived all their lives in the same place where they grew up and everyone at the polling place knew everybody. But that's not the case now and hasn't been for a long time. With all the talk about securing our election process against tampering (which I'm all in favor of), if it doesn't include voter ID, it's not secure.
> the number of voter fraud incidents is vanishingly small
The number of known voter fraud incidents is very small. But if ID isn't required to vote and we just accept people's word when they say they're eligible to vote, how could you ever prove voter fraud?
> The number of known voter fraud incidents is very small.
Don't forget there was a whole presidential commission set up after 2016 to hunt for any signs of voter fraud and they found, as far as I recall, nothing.
Again I'm not against ID in spirit but the implementation never attempts to make sure that every voter has an ID. Fundamentally that's the issue to me with voter ID laws; in the absence of any evidence of consequential voter fraud it's just another tactic to limit the ability to vote for political gain.
I would be fine with requiring voting jurisdictions to make reasonable efforts to do this if ID will be required to vote. I would also be fine with providing federal funds to allow, for example, increased resources at DMVs or other ID issuing facilities to support this.
There have been expansive studies on the subject, all of which have found incredibly low rates of actual voter fraud (as distinct from clerical errors or mistakenly voting at the wrong precinct): https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/debu...
It’s not actually the honor system either they ask for your address.
I wasn't talking about eligibility based on address (though of course that should be checked too), but based on citizenship.
Honestly I wouldn’t mind if the only requirement to vote was a passport to prove citizenship. It would probably disenfranchise lots of folks though, given only a fraction of the country has one.
Yes, but if you register at a time other than the time you vote, how do you prove at the time you vote that you're the same person who registered and had all that information checked when they registered?
That's what the ID is for. A passport would also work, but I don't think that should be the only possible way to do it. Now that most states are supporting RealID, your state will most likely be able to issue you an ID that you have to prove citizenship to get.
Ultimately it’s not a problem worth the energy of being solved.
What stops someone from filing a bunch of those with random names and random 4 digit SSNs with maps to the Skid Row or SOMA or any homeless encampment? You think they might be checking name match with the SSN? Could be, but then you can also apply for ITIN with the same random names and see if they can distinguish one from another.
If ID were to be required then you'd have to make multiple fake ids - inherently more complex and dangerous task than filling out a bunch of voter registration forms. And it could be very dangerous to show with these fake IDs at the polls where they could have government-issue scanners checking them out.
Given the fact that CA is also moving heavily towards vote by mail the ID issue is again entirely superfluous.
Reminds me of when my senator forgot his ID when he went to vote - so he submitted an absentee ballot the same day. Without an ID. Hysterical.
ID, obviously, won't prevent vote by mail fraud but that one is harder to do since it requires a valid mailing address to receive a ballot, supposedly.
Supposedly, if you register like that (by mail) you have to show a photo ID first time you vote
Serious questions, because I'm in a vote-by-mail state, so I don't actually have to go anywhere to vote. I don't know how that all works. I had assumed they required ID and checked it, but now I'm realizing I've given too much credit to the voting system.
Then you’d have to wonder why you’re going to the effort for one extra vote because this is a made up problem.
If it does include ID it isn't secure. So you've made voting harder but not really made it any harder for bad actors to defraud (because high quality fake State IDs can be ordered, right now, straight for abroad).
Plus statistically voter fraud isn't a real problem, it is well within the margin of error and there's no indication that it has increased. Election fraud seems far more problematic (because it requires fewer bad actors), and that may require more paper ballots and oversight (e.g. stream the vote count online).
A federal ruling would've been nice, but if it must happen in statehouses, then that is where voting rights activists must concentrate their efforts.
edit: It only directly deals with federal elections. She does have plans to get states to follow along but there's not as much power to directly force them.
> Under a Florida law that went into effect July 1, he must pay those penalties before casting a ballot or risk being prosecuted for voter fraud... Florida has no comprehensive system for tracking such fines
It's not uncommon for states like Florida to make voting difficult, but this is Kafkaesque and ridiculous.
You can look at the members of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Advisory_Commissi... (Hans van Spakovsky, Chris Kobach) and see the impressive and coordinated job they are doing at nationalizing the effort.
They have an incredible pipeline to create "movement" attorneys and advancing them into the judicial system with the ADF, programs like the Blackstone legal fellowship, and the relatively recently accredited Liberty U law school as a feeder. They don't draw a ton of attention to themselves, but let's just say... hopefully you are Christian, white, heterosexual, and don't want/need contraception. They essentially have already won, the precedent is just working its way through the judiciary.
Maryland is not a Republican majority state.
Illinois is also not a Republican majority state.
And IL 4 was drawn by Republicans after https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/7...
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27s_4th_congressional... "In June 1991, Congressman Dennis Hastert, a suburban Republican, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the existing congressional map was unconstitutional; the present congressional district boundaries emerged as a result of that lawsuit. A three-judge panel of the federal district court adopted the map proposed by Hastert and other Republican members of the Illinois Congressional delegation"
This seems absurd.
You can't vote because you owe us money... but we're not going to tell you how much you owe, if anything at all.
That doesn't cover why the state can't keep track and report out who needs to pay what, of course.
Viewed through that lens, it's quite logical. Evil, but logical.
I would think anyone who has ever seen 50%+1 of the electorate support an unjust law would be less than interested in advancing democracy.
Democracy is a means: good government and liberty are the ends. That's a good part of the reason why the United States are not a democracy but rather a republic: we don't normally put laws up to the people directly for a vote, but in fact put many things beyond the reach of democracy. Freedom of and from religion, for example.
I don't really see how permitting felons to vote is likely to lead to either good government or increased liberty, although certainly the citizens of Florida had every right to amend their constitution to extend the franchise to felons, and the politicians of the state have a duty to obey their constitution.
> That's a good part of the reason why the United States are not a democracy but rather a republic:
I guess it makes more sense if you think that rule of the people is somehow the opposite of not having a monarch.
Democracy is a decision-forcing mechanism that allows for a some amount of public participation in the mechanisms of governance. it is not a terminal value, it is an instrumental value. good government and liberty are the terminal values. democracy is a means to achieve good government.
We need freedom for the same reason: Because when you let a person make decisions for themselves, you have generally picked the best person for the job.
Ultimately neither are terminal conditions though, happiness is.
Also, it's not clear from your comment if the evil but logical act is the passing of the law or creating the system in which one is unable to prove they can vote once convicted of a felony. Which did you mean?
The evilness is using loopholes (poor bookkeeping and a strained reading of the ballot measure) to suppress the vote and tyrannically hold on to power. Referendums get tampered with by legislatures all the time but most measures aren't concerned with voting rights.
Another state I was familiar with really just had a list that some agency had... but honestly the list was only populated by in state known felons and IIRC there was no mechanism to check the list unless someone was actually arrested FOR voter fraud or something and that happened all of a handful of times when a bitter family member or spouse turned them in.
Outside that if a felon asked a judge they were almost always taken off the list because just showing the effort to care usually was enough for judges who just sent a letter to the folks with the list.
I remember thinking it was a pretty good system... if you had to have one.
Would rather not have such a system though.
But I do remember the exfelon needed the original court (judge?) to signoff once all the outstanding fees had been paid. So process involved multiple separate bureaucracies, each its own moving target.
Worse, the interest rate on the fees made the principle grow faster than could ever be paid off, effectively resulting in permanent disenfranchisement for a large fraction of exfelons.
> The Tampa pastor is now a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the payments law, which was crafted by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, also a Republican. The law came just months after Floridians approved a ballot initiative restoring voting rights to more than 1 million felons who have completed their sentences;
Rights aren't something the govt gives so how can the govt remove them ?
So in the context of voting, you have no natural right to vote, because in a state of nature the only authority is your own, and you don't need to vote with yourself. A society comes along, and sets up a governing body, say, democratically, and says "everyone gets to vote!". However, this isn't a right, but instead a privilege, (or perhaps a legal right) which derives its authority from society, which means society can do what it pleases with it.
Natural rights cannot be removed by society, only infringed upon. I.e. you never "lose" your right to life, just because society decides to have you executed. They've just infringed upon it in the worst possible way.
Similarly, Sabine notes the position of John Locke in Essay concerning Human Understanding:
[Civic power] can have no right except as this is derived from the individual right of each man to protect himself and his property. The legislative and executive power used by government to protect property is nothing except the natural power of each man resigned into the hands of the community…and it is justified merely because it is a better way of protecting natural right than the self-help to which each man is naturally entitled.
The first black president was elected promising change.
Now we have Trump who had no political background implying people want change
Choosing the least painful way to get screwed isn't consent.
I think you'd find that pretty often, more than half the country disapproved of congress, even though, in the long run, each clone is equally likely as a voter regardless of geography, economic interest, etc. How could you design a voting system that's responsive to these variations?
This challenge gets more complex the more political alignments you account for.
Few people in an opinion poll of Congress are assessing their love of bicameral legislature. More commonly they're stating that they wish they could just have their way, regardless of opposing voices.
But putting principles to the side: your argument doesn't even hold up empirically. Americans have a very low opinion of Congress, but generally approve of their own representatives.
Of course, that doesn't mean that it's right to disenfranchise felons (it almost certainly isn't), nor does it mean any state is obligated to disenfranchise (most states don't). It does however mean that it's not straightforward to appeal to the Constitution in arguing to get rid of it.
Permanent dis-enfranchisement is a way of ensuring someone remains ostracized from society and is forever given reason to work against it.
Here is a decent wikipedia article on it:
There is no danger to "society" here—only to violent criminals who are themselves a danger to innocent civilians. The insane part is that he was punished with 12 years in prison for doing society a favor.
The thing is FL is a really weird state and people don't realize that we where one of the last continental US frontiers and really did not become much more than disconnected remote outposts until Flagler built the railroad down the east coat which was completed in 1912, Miami did not see a boom until the 1950's and much of the rest of the state you would not be able to tell from the 1800's until the 1970's. When you get outside of South Florida, Tampa and Orlando you end up in towns that are more like what people think when they think of some small town in nowhere Texas or Alaska, so there is a lot of if you don't cause a problem there wont be a problem type mentality (I mean belive it or not we still have parts of Florida where segregation is alive and well https://journaltimes.com/news/national/blacks-whites-live-wi...).
The judge was an old school Floridian and saw it for what it was, basically don't rape the guys wife and you won't get killed. I remember at the hearing he has a lawyer that lost his shit, because the judge asked him why he wanted a gun, and he told the judge well you honor, I figured out after the fact that if I had, had a gun at the time I would have saved myself 12 years of my life because it would have been self defense. I want a gun so the next time someone tries to rape my wife, I can deal with it then and there. Instead of stewing about until I retaliate in pure anger. He sited his fear of his wife being raped again as a need for self defense and said to the judge I think I have a valid concern for self defense there since I know it can happen and have experienced it first hand.
The judge asked him if he regretted or was remorseful for what had transpired, and again he was honest and told him no, that every day he looks at his kids he remembers how their mother was brutalized and he never wanted to be helpless in that situation again. That he realized his actions after the fact was that of a man torn up with rage and vengeance and that that rage and vengeance was still in him and that some days he wished they where still alive so that he could kill them again when he is having flashbacks and cannot get rid of them, but that he would have certainly acted in self defense back then had he been armed and in the future if the same event occurred he would defend himself and his family then and there and thus it would be a justifiable homicide. He said in his current circumstances with little children, he would not have taken the course of action that he did but that he would still feel the same way. That he was OK with having to pay his debt to society but it would be too high of a price to pay now having children.
The only person that was more surprised than me that his rights where restored, was probably his lawyer. I think the judge appreciated his honestly as he was being truthful, short of harming his family, he has no desire to kill.
My uncle who I spent alot of time with was a big-city detective. He had more than one story about someone who did something similar (understandable anger/rage about a horrific event). Justice in the city is different -- premeditation and vigilante action outside of an immediate event is as serious as the original act, best case it gets a favorable plea deal, etc.
One of them moved to Montana or some such and refused to be interviewed. But the local Sheriff agreed to say a few things. One of which was the guy owned a deer rifle but agreed with the Sheriff that it was best not to bring it into town.
Personally, I think that it should be possible but difficult for felons to earn back the right to vote. Not as difficult as earning back the right to bear arms, but more than just completing their sentences. Still, it’s up to each state to set its own rules for these things.
In my opinion, loss of the right to bear arms only makes sense for violent offenders.
Im not sure what the argument is for the loss of the right to vote is. Is it simply punitive? A deterrent?
I think that there’s a good argument that we have too many felonies which aren’t actually truly vile crimes. But I also don’t believe that Robert Hansen, John Gotti or the Unabomber should be voting.
Q: If the govt tells you to kill someone is it wrong ?
A : it depends :)
It forbids certain sorts of discrimination - gender, race, age (past a point), but leaves the rest up to the states.
California could, as far as I can tell, forbid voting by blondes, or by people who need glasses, or ban anyone who's had ice cream in the last month from the polls.
Not unless the Supreme Court decided to throw out, like, the whole of 14th Amendment Due Process and clause jurisprudence, where it comes to standards for impairing or discriminating in fundamental rights and voting’s status as such a right. (I wouldn't put it past this court, but even for them it would be an unusual break with settled Constitutional case law.)
And even then, Constitutionally, only blonde females and males under 21 if it doesn't want to lose seats in the House, since another part of the 14th Amendment (though this has historically not been enforced) makes denying males 21+ the vote for any reason other than conviction of crime mean reduction, in equal proportion, to House representation.
That just further highlights the bafflingly cobbled-together nature of the whole ruleset.
Women and 18-21 year olds got the right to vote after the 14th Amendment
(Sharp observers will note that race also wasn't explicitly a prohibited category until a later Amendment—the 15th—as the three civil war amendments, 13th-15th, were not ratified simultaneously despite being a related package, so blacks were considered in the disenfranchisement penalty clause before they had an individually-protected right to vote.)
Rights are something that a government gives. You only have rights insofar as they are respected by the government that controls the area in which you live. "Human rights" or "unalienable rights" are nice ideas but insubstantial.
That aside, I think felons should be able to vote.
The US was founded on the idea of unalienable rights
You have rights as long as you are are a recognized member of the political system that controls the territory where you live. But there are plenty of people "on the margins" who simply don't have rights and governments reserve the right to expel people from the political system at will.
"No. 4 Constitutional Amendment Article VI, Section 4. Voting Restoration Amendment This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis."
If the fees are part of parole or probation, then the felons should be not be able to vote. Does florida not have a database of who is or isn't on probation?
If the fees are not part of parole or probation, the new law should be clearly unconstitutional.
Apparently not when it comes to fees owed as part of that.
> Tyson searched court records, first on his own, then with the help of a nonprofit legal advocacy group. They say that because Florida has no comprehensive system for tracking such fines, the documents don’t make clear what he owes. The records, viewed by Reuters, show potential sums ranging from $846 to a couple thousand dollars related to crimes he committed in the late 1970s and 1990s. Tyson says he won’t risk voting until Florida authorities can tell him for sure.
I think there is another more likely answer: Probation is tracked, fees have not traditionally been considered a requirement for probation completion, and the legislature is trying to shift the lines.
Is that the case? It seems like I've heard of cases where probation comes with requirements ("wear this tracking bracelet") that are provided by a private entity who bills the convict, and if the bill isn't paid, probation gets revoked.
I'm not a lawyer, but the word "including" typically isn't meant to preclude other items in a class; e.g. "all costs are specified in the bill including taxes" wouldn't typically be taken to mean that only taxes are specified. If court ordered fines and fees are considered a part of the "terms of their sentence" I don't see a contradiction.
These can supposedly be waived in the case of someone not being able to afford them, but it's not unusual for judges to decide that any living situation short of literally living on the street (and sometimes even then) means the fees are 'affordable'.
I agree the desired effect is likely the same.
The relevant portion starts at line 1345:
Oh, I know when it'll be ready. About 2 weeks before the election, just in time to purge voters without giving them enough time to do anything about it.
* Liberalized his platform to appear more moderate. Terms are 5 years and a new generation of voters.
* Supress black votes through kafkaesque voter registration.
* Suppress black votes by denying ex-convicts (who make up a large block of felons) the ability.
Building on what you said, everyone should have the right to vote, totally unobstructed, even if they are in jail. Otherwise, you incentivize putting people the powers that be don't like in jail.
For the rest of them, prison populations are another form of concentrating and diluting power: prisoners are counted toward district population, but have no voting power.
I'm in the camp that thinks everyone should have the right to vote, prisoners included. Voting is a fundamental component of citizenship, and being imprisoned shouldn't take that way as a matter a principle, nor should a citizen be disenfranchised after their release (as is also common, especially in the states that enacted all these laws in the Jim Crow south era).
Especially if we want former prisoners to play a more positive role in society after their release, stripping them of a right of citizenship, possibly indefinitely, seems like a bad way to do it.
I am amused that too many people on HN take the thinnest logical wedge of situations like this and say "see! It make sense!" and essentially ignore the effective outcome.
It's a very "computery" thought process - compilers are kind of like this. But when deployed in defense of the undefendable, it really does disservice to "our" community. One that I do not feel proud of being part of anymore.
Do I want to punish people? No, the threat of punishment seldom deters people (there's even that saying, it's better to ask forgiveness than request permission). I don't care about punishing people, I care about having a better society. Helping people who've done wrong fix their mistakes and be better citizens is what I care about. If punishment did that, then sure, let's do it, but it doesn't.
People need to get past their need for vengeance, whether dressed up as justice or laid bare.
Imagine if [thing you like] was illegal, punishable as a minor felony with a year in jail and the subsequent loss of voting rights. You know that 60% of the population supports [thing you like] and would like to have it legalized, but because a substantial chunk of this population has been or will be punished this way over their lifetimes, support of [thing you like] only gets a minority of the vote. The 40% of the population that opposes [thing you like] uses this to claim that most people oppose [thing you like] and want it to remain illegal.
I am all for true felons loosing their right to vote. I don't want people that have run ponzi schemes, violent high volume drug dealers or pedophiles to have the right to participate in the society I live in. I think it is criminal that some meth head that gets slapped with a felony for having a little too much on them goes to prison, gets out, turns around their life and now cannot participate fully in society due to poor laws.