kentucky senator rand paul has introduced a bill which restores voting rights in federal elections to those convicted of non-violent felonies. this initiative is the newest addition to a series of criminal justice reforms backed by paul.
paul has supported legislation to scale back mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of drug offenses. he also supports various other reforms, including reclassifying some felony drug offenses as misdemeanors.
speaking on meet the press last sunday, paul said, "if we're the party of family values and keeping families together, and the party believes in redemption and second chances, we should be for letting people have the right to vote back."
voting rights advocates have praised the recent legal proposals made by paul. but human rights advocates prefer legislation introduced by senator ben cardin, which would extend voting rights to those convicted of any felony upon leaving prison.
paul is a staunch conservative, yet he drew some right-wing criticism. roger clegg, ceo of the center for equal opportunity, a conservative think tank focusing on race and ethnicity, strongly disagrees with paul's views. clegg said, "paul has shown himself to be someone who does not take the constitution seriously."
paul says re-enfranchising people convicted of non-violent felonies would help reduce current racial disparities. at present, nearly eight percent of the black population cannot vote. similarly, under two percent of the non-black population cannot vote.
"there's a racial outcome to the war on drugs. three out of four people in prison for non-violent drug offenses are black and brown. white kids are using drugs at the same rate black kids are," paul said.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.