Maryland to enfranchise felons?

24 January, 2006

It’s being reported today that plans are afoot in the Maryland state legislature to restore the vote to felons. (By the Wash Times, so the slant is pretty drastic. One paragraph reads: “These convicted murderers, rapists and armed robbers could vote as early as the Nov. 7 general election, if the law takes effect on the traditional Oct. 1 start date. And felons could sway the results.”)

I somehow received the impression as a kid in the 1980s that the past was a benighted time with bad stuff like racism and sexism everywhere, but then the sixties happened and now everything was cool. You can imagine my surprise as I learned otherwise in junior high and high school. Still, I’m glad I started from that impression, because every time I hear about an injustice that was in fact NOT righted, or even introduced since then, I have a glimmer of indignance I can trace back to that time: “World! That’s SO not what you said before!!” It keeps a check on my cynicism, which is bad enough having grown up female, liberal and Jewish (I shudder to think how cynical I’d be if I’d grown up with any sort of dark skin).

Disenfranchisement of felons–EVEN AFTER society has extracted its pound of flesh–is definitely one of those sorts of things for me. I couldn’t believe it actually was true when I first heard about it and I still have a hard time with such a basic injustice being tolerable to so many so-called Americans. Marylanders, support this bill, will you?

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