I posted on this topic earlier this year, Time for the restoration of ex-felon voting rights, when Rep. Martín J. Quezada (D-Phoenix) introduced HB 2132 (.pdf), a bill to restore the franchise to ex-felons, which never got a hearing.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has called for the repeal of these Jim Crow era laws that disenfranchise millions of ex-felons from voting. Among his strongest allies is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
It turns out that Arizona Attorney General Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne, who recently made the baseless claim that he believes there “has been what I consider to be a media cover-up of the extent to which voter fraud is a problem in Arizona,” is a big fan of Jim Crow voter disenfranchisement. Think Progress reports, Arizona Attorney General: If Those Convicted Of A Crime Can Vote, Politicians Will Campaign On Robbery:
Politicians who have imposed a raft of suppressive voter laws over the past few years have justified those laws under claims of voter fraud. But asked to provide evidence of alleged fraud, even those who have undertaken expensive investigations have come up with very little.
* * *
During an interview on NewsMax with former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) was asked about [an Iowa] case, and moves to automatically restore the voting rights of those who have completed their sentences.
He warned, “I can just picture politicians appealing to the convicted felons’ vote by saying that they’ll legalize bank robbery or whatever. It doesn’t really make sense to permit convicted felons to vote.”
Yuck it up, chucklehead. You’re a regular laugh riot for a guy who is one step ahead of a felony conviction of his own for political corruption.
We don’t have to speculate about what the outcome would be if states were to allow ex-offenders to vote. At least 25 states already do, including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. [Two states, Maine and Vermont, allow incarcerated felons to vote from prison.] Thus far, these states have seen nothing resembling a campaign to end law and order.
And despite Horne’s claim, these laws didn’t originate with that rationale. Felon disenfranchisement laws were passed after Reconstruction just as slaves were being freed, when 90 percent of the Southern prison population was black, according to the Department of Justice. To this day, the laws disenfranchises 1 in 13 African Americans. And that figure is 1 in 5 in three states that retain these laws: Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia. Overall, the count of current and former felons who cannot vote is 5.8 million — more than the individual populations of 31 U.S. states.
Every day in every way, Arizona desperately needs Felecia Rotellini to be our next Attorney General.