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Millions blocked from voting in November


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

 

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released.

 

In total, 13 percent of all black men are barred from voting due to a felony conviction, according to the Commission on Civil Rights. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

 

"This has a huge effect on elections but also on black communities which see their political clout diluted. No one has yet explained to me how letting ex-felons who have served their sentences into polling booths hurts anyone," said Jessie Allen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

 

Conservatives disagree. "Society is not required to turn a blind eye to the fact that someone has a criminal record. Someone who was not willing to follow the law and was sent to prison should not be in a position to make the law for others by electing lawmakers," said Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity think tank.

 

Millions of other votes in the 2000 presidential election were lost due to clerical and administrative errors while civil rights organizations have cataloged numerous tactics aimed at suppressing black voter turnout.

 

"There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

 

'DISCOURAGED' FROM VOTING

 

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

 

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

 

In a mayoral election in Philadelphia last year, people pretending to be plainclothes police officers stood outside some polling stations asking people to identify themselves. There have also been reports of mysterious people videotaping people waiting in line to vote in black neighborhoods.

 

Minority voters may be deterred from voting simply by election officials demanding to see drivers' licenses before handing them a ballot, according to Spencer Overton, who teaches law at George Washington University.

 

"African Americans are four to five times less likely than whites to have a photo ID," Overton said at a recent briefing on minority disenfranchisement.

 

Courtenay Strickland of the Americans Civil Liberties Union testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that at a primary election in Florida last month, many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification.

 

BLACKS' BALLOTS REJECTED

 

The commission, in a report earlier this year, said that in Florida, where President Bush (news - web sites) won a bitterly disputed election in 2000 by 537 votes, black voters had been 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected and were often prevented from voting because their names were erroneously purged from registration lists.

 

Additionally, Florida is one of 14 states that prohibit ex-felons from voting. Seven percent of the electorate but 16 percent of black voters in that state are disenfranchised.

 

 

 

In other swing states, 4.6 percent of voters in Iowa, but 25 percent of blacks, were disenfranchised in 2000 as ex-felons. In Nevada, it was 4.8 percent of all voters but 17 percent of blacks; in New Mexico, 6.2 percent of all voters but 25 percent of blacks.

 

Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, which seeks to ensure fair multiracial elections, recently reported that registrars across the country often claimed not to have received voter registration forms or rejected them for technical reasons that could have been corrected easily before voting day if the applicant had known there was a problem.

 

Beasley said that many voters who had registered recently in swing states were likely to find their names would not be on the rolls when they showed up on Election Day.

 

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...d=615&ncid=2043

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it talks about more than just felons not being able to vote.

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"This has a huge effect on elections but also on black communities which see their political clout diluted. No one has yet explained to me how letting ex-felons who have served their sentences into polling booths hurts anyone," said Jessie Allen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

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Guest marlins02

'DISCOURAGED' FROM VOTING

 

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting.

 

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

 

In a mayoral election in Philadelphia last year, people pretending to be plainclothes police officers stood outside some polling stations asking people to identify themselves. There have also been reports of mysterious people videotaping people waiting in line to vote in black neighborhoods.

 

Minority voters may be deterred from voting simply by election officials demanding to see drivers' licenses before handing them a ballot, according to Spencer Overton, who teaches law at George Washington University.

 

"African Americans are four to five times less likely than whites to have a photo ID," Overton said at a recent briefing on minority disenfranchisement.

 

Courtenay Strickland of the Americans Civil Liberties Union testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that at a primary election in Florida last month, many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification.

 

BLACKS' BALLOTS REJECTED

 

The commission, in a report earlier this year, said that in Florida, where President Bush (news - web sites) won a bitterly disputed election in 2000 by 537 votes, black voters had been 10 times more likely than non-black voters to have their ballots rejected and were often prevented from voting because their names were "erroneously " purged from registration lists.

 

Additionally, Florida is one of 14 states that prohibit ex-felons from voting. Seven percent of the electorate but 16 percent of black voters in that state are disenfranchised.

 

?

 

Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, which seeks to ensure fair multiracial elections, recently reported that registrars across the country often claimed not to have received voter registration forms or rejected them for technical reasons that could have been corrected easily before voting day if the applicant had known there was a problem.

 

Beasley said that many voters who had registered recently in swing states were likely to find their names would not be on the rolls when they showed up on Election Day.

 

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...d=615&ncid=2043

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Guest marlins02

i was just pointing out that it wasnt only about the Felons topic. its a pretty big part but it wasnt the only subject discussed in the article like i thought you meant it was when you quoted me the first time.

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Just because it's something done against felons automatically means it's anti-black? What does that say about the black population?

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I cant figure out what point you are remotley trying to make with that. I think youre trying to draw out something that isnt there just to undercut the article itself. Do you oppose the policy of people who serve their time being able to take part in democracy or not? If you dont oppose it, then do you deny that the improper substantive practice disproportionettley affects one political party and one race much more than the other hence the reason why people take issue with it? I mean I just cant figure out your point.

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Just because it's something done against felons automatically means it's anti-black? What does that say about the black population?

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I cant figure out what point you are remotley trying to make with that. I think youre trying to draw out something that isnt there just to undercut the article itself. Do you oppose the policy of people who serve their time being able to take part in democracy or not? If you dont oppose it, then do you deny that the improper substantive practice disproportionettley affects one political party and one race much more than the other hence the reason why people take issue with it? I mean I just cant figure out your point.

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His point is very clear, he was debating the fact that most felons are black. In fact if you look at raw #'s there are more white (non-hispanic) felons than black felons. Where black felons or ex-felons are numerous is when you compare the percentage of black male felons to the total # of black males, and then its higher than the percentage of whit emale fleons to the percentage of white males

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Just because it's something done against felons automatically means it's anti-black? What does that say about the black population?

574443[/snapback]

 

I cant figure out what point you are remotley trying to make with that. I think youre trying to draw out something that isnt there just to undercut the article itself. Do you oppose the policy of people who serve their time being able to take part in democracy or not? If you dont oppose it, then do you deny that the improper substantive practice disproportionettley affects one political party and one race much more than the other hence the reason why people take issue with it? I mean I just cant figure out your point.

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I'm not saying a word on the felon issue, because frankly I think it's a case by case issue whether or not your rights should be reinstated. If you are a serial murderer that got out for some strange reason, I'm sorry but you have no business voting.

 

My point is, why are so many things becoming anti-(insert vocal minority here). I mean, I like to think the minority I belong to is pretty chill when it comes to these topics, but I really can't stand the people that take every oppurtunity to bring out the world is against us attitude. It's not an anti-black issue, it's just that 13% of black men in the US happen to be felons. Doesn't speak volumes for the community, and it just so happens a chunk of this would affect black people because they committed crimes. White people committed crimes and are affected, the same with other groups. But no, it's anti-black.

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Did you know Juanky that many of these Black felons (I am not saying all of them) we're charged in crimes because they are racially profiled?

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To be a felon.....you must be convicted.....

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That's your mighty defense to my statement?

 

Are the majority of felons wrongly convicted? 40%? Even 10%? If the answer is no, than the point is moot. Thinking the system does this horrible job at finding the right criminal and convicting him has to be the most flawed theory I've heard in some time. The world doesn't happen like Law and Order and The Practice say so, almost all the time the right person is convicted.

 

Besides, 13% of black males being convicted of felonies isn't an accident. It's a trend.

 

And it might be ignored, but like legacy pointed out, more whites are in jail for felonies than blacks.

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That's your mighty defense to my statement?

 

Are the majority of felons wrongly convicted? 40%? Even 10%? If the answer is no, than the point is moot. Thinking the system does this horrible job at finding the right criminal and convicting him has to be the most flawed theory I've heard in some time. The world doesn't happen like Law and Order and The Practice say so, almost all the time the right person is convicted.

 

Besides, 13% of black males being convicted of felonies isn't an accident. It's a trend.

 

And it might be ignored, but like legacy pointed out, more whites are in jail for felonies than blacks.

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A vast minority of Black felons are wrongfully convicted because of racial profiling.

 

 

 

 

Fact.

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That's your mighty defense to my statement?

 

Are the majority of felons wrongly convicted? 40%? Even 10%? If the answer is no, than the point is moot. Thinking the system does this horrible job at finding the right criminal and convicting him has to be the most flawed theory I've heard in some time. The world doesn't happen like Law and Order and The Practice say so, almost all the time the right person is convicted.

 

Besides, 13% of black males being convicted of felonies isn't an accident. It's a trend.

 

And it might be ignored, but like legacy pointed out, more whites are in jail for felonies than blacks.

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A vast minority of Black felons are wrongfully convicted because of racial profiling.

 

 

 

 

Fact.

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Really?

 

Gimme the numbers. What's a vast minority? I interpret that as meaning less than 1% of black felons are convicted wrongfully.

 

Watch your words ;)

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I'm all for barring felons from voting, owning guns, et al

 

It is part of the punishment for the crime, aside from prison you also lose privlege ........

 

both sides do shady things around election time in an effort to get "turnout"

 

then there are base procedural issues .. i have a friend who moved from Ohio to AZ about a year and half ago ... bought a house and everything .. however they never changed their drivers license to AZ

 

AZ will not let them register and Ohio will not release a ballot ... essentially they have no vote this year

 

the system isn't perfect and there is a lot of room for improvement, but a lot of this sounds like pre-emptive whining .. .the world is against us type of stuff

 

"they" don't want you to vote, so stick it to them and show up kind of stuff

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almost all the time the right person is convicted.

 

 

First off to Juanky,. having worked for Chicago's DA and seen a crapload of cases, I can tell you that the state does not have amazing case most of the time. It sounds to me like you are the one living in the CSI world. There is a politics of local justice that happens and most defendants have to do cost benefit analysis in pleading guilty and knowing the benefit of the doubt is usually against them. When most of the people who are arrested are one group, the tendency is to have that same group be prosecuted.

 

Yes blacks are not the high number of affected but that doesnt mean it nonadversley affects them. Your asking a minority to lose what little power it had anyway. Minorities fought hard to get the voting power they have now. They dont want to see those taken away with side methods so excuse them when they get sensitive about it.

 

Finally, its so amazing how readily you can remove someones rights. Because they made one mistake, we continue to punish them? The prisoners have done their time and yet you want to punish them for all eternity. And for what reason? Its a tool that can be imposed to drive our nation into despotism.

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1- At times, sure. There is cost/benefit for taking a plea. But that is for taking a plea, these cases are separate IMO.

 

2- But you are missing a point. This isn't an anti-black issue and shouldn't made out to be, and I'm disgusted that people take any possible situation to just go and say "OMG Racist die die die". No, it isn't anti-black, and quite frankly these people need to rethink what is anti-what.

 

3- So I can go kill someone and vote in 08, even though I'm a murderer who did so just because? This is my point exactly - it's a case by case thing, can't throw a general yes or no blanket over the entire process. I don't think murderers should be able to vote. I don't think serial rapists should be voting. You rape 5 people and that's one mistake?

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1. How are plea bargains different? Youre still a convicted felon.

 

2. Nice use of very extreme hyperbole. Do you think the guy arrested with a little too much pot should be banned from voting for the rest of their life? Thats the question I want you to answer for me. A serial rapist and murderer will be in prison for most of their lives. Show me a serial rapist or murderer in the last ten years who hasnt had a severe sentence.

 

3. As far as the antiblack thing goes, seperate your dislike for overusing the race card from the incedent at hand. Dont you think any group would see it as being against them when their are most adversley affected?

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That's your mighty defense to my statement?

 

Are the majority of felons wrongly convicted? 40%? Even 10%? If the answer is no, than the point is moot. Thinking the system does this horrible job at finding the right criminal and convicting him has to be the most flawed theory I've heard in some time. The world doesn't happen like Law and Order and The Practice say so, almost all the time the right person is convicted.

 

Besides, 13% of black males being convicted of felonies isn't an accident. It's a trend.

 

And it might be ignored, but like legacy pointed out, more whites are in jail for felonies than blacks.

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A vast minority of Black felons are wrongfully convicted because of racial profiling.

 

 

 

 

Fact.

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:lol :lol :lol

 

Your joking right? A "vast majority" is what you mean, right???

 

Please present a link with something resembling facts to back up such an outlandish statement.

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1. How are plea bargains different? Youre still a convicted felon.

 

2. Nice use of very extreme hyperbole. Do you think the guy arrested with a little too much pot should be banned from voting for the rest of their life? Thats the question I want you to answer for me. A serial rapist and murderer will be in prison for most of their lives. Show me a serial rapist or murderer in the last ten years who hasnt had a severe sentence.

 

3. As far as the antiblack thing goes, seperate your dislike for overusing the race card from the incedent at hand. Dont you think any group would see it as being against them when their are most adversley affected?

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1- Case by case issue.

 

2- The pot guy, probably not. I'm not opposed to legalizing marijuana actually, I think it'd be a huge source of revenue for the government and save alot of lives. If the guy got caught for the first time though, maybe he should. If this is like the tenth time and he keeps breaking the law, well then this guy has issues. Again, case by case issue.

 

3- No, not every group. This affects alot of white people, but they aren't complaining too loudly. Also, alot of hispanics go to jail, often wrongly due to the same stereotypes blacks get, but they aren't complaining too loudly. Is it my fault 13% of your population is felons? No. Stop throwing it in my face like it's a good thing.

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Aside from the arguement that the disenfranchisement of blacks is symptomatic of the larger social ill that is racial profiling.....

 

There is more meat on this bone. For example, what's up with the fact that blacks are much less likely to have photo ID?

 

At some point you have to say that regardless of your social situation you can't completely nonconform to the most basic procedural requirements that protect the system just because you're a minority.

 

It's patronistic and enabling, and it's also insulting to the vast majority of responsible black citizens who are more than capable of meeting the juvenile pre-requisites of voting in an election.

 

And with this in mind the same conclusion goes for the other 87 percent of blacks that AREN'T convicted felons.

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First of Im not black and second off, hispanics do complain against policies that adversley affect them for whatever reason. One of the most obvious is the battle between use of English in various settings. How does a hispanic person feel when someone says "well just learn English and this wont hurt you?" Justifiably angry IMO.

 

1- Case by case issue.

 

 

 

 

This case by case view point, which I am fine with, would not bode well in some Republican caucuses.

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