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Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:14 AM

In Iowa, Paying Your Debt to Society Isn't Quite Enough

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/06/iowa-paying-your-debt-society-isnt-quite-enough



Via Ed Kilgore, we learn today that voter suppression is alive and well in Iowa. On his first day in office after winning the 2010 election, Gov. Terry Branstad reinstituted a long and laborious process that prevents most released felons from voting:

'Henry Straight, who wants to serve on the town council in the tiny western Iowa community of Arthur, is among those whose paperwork wasn't complete. Straight can't vote or hold office because as a teenager in Wisconsin in the 1980s, he was convicted of stealing a pop machine and fleeing while on bond.

Straight spent a year on the effort and hired a lawyer for $500 to help. Yet he was notified by the governor's office last month that he hadn't submitted a full credit report, only a summary, or documentation showing he had paid off decades-old court costs. They make the process just about impossible," said Straight, 40, a truck driver. "I hired a lawyer to navigate it for me and I still got rejected. Isn't that amazing?"

Iowa's process also includes a 31-question application that asks for information such as the address of the judge who handled the conviction. Felons also must supply a criminal history report, which takes weeks and costs $15. Then the review can take up to six months.'

Felons, of course, tend to be poorer, blacker, and younger than the general population, which means they're more likely to vote for Democrats than the general population. So who cares if they've paid their debt to society? A tendency to vote for Democrats is mighty suspicious behavior all on its own, no? Surely anyone foolish enough to belong to one or more of these demographic groups should expect to have a hard time voting whenever a Republican machine is in charge.

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Reply In Iowa, Paying Your Debt to Society Isn't Quite Enough (Original post)
xchrom Jun 2012 OP
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #1
MadHound Jun 2012 #2
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #3
Heywood J Jun 2012 #5
Honeycombe8 Jun 2012 #4

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:25 AM

1. They clearly don't want felons holding office. Answer: don't commit a felony.

Although the article acts like his criminal history was a teen funsy-thing, it apparently was a felony, which is not an easy charge for a teen to get.

Felonies are serious business. I was trying to tell a neighbor, who expressed the desire to run for city council or something, that his two old felonies for drug dealing would interfere with that. He seemed surprised by that. But it's true...even if he were allowed to run, which I'm not sure of, he wouldn't get elected. Felonies are serious business. The public doesn't take a felony lightly.

A teen who did misdemeanors, like stealing money from newspaper machines, vandalism, etc., they will not have that follow them around their entire lives.

It's also possible to get a juvenile record expunged.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:47 AM

2. Well, well, hello Javert

 

A few things for you to know. First of all, it is incredibly easy for one to pick up a felony. I don't know the exact details of Iowa law during the '80's, but living in Missouri, I do know it is very similar to our laws. Felonies can be had for stealing anything valued at $100.00 or more. You can pick up a mandatory felony under our three strikes rule, committing three misdemeanors. Oh, and misdemeanors do follow you around the rest of your life. A lot of jobs won't care if you did a misdemeanor, but try becoming a teacher or other such position, and they do care, and will find out.

The man stole a soda machine when he was a teenager twenty five, thirty years. Sounds more like a teenage prank/dare type of deal than serious crime. But whatever, the man was a teenager, it was thirty years ago, and the man has walked the straight and narrow since. What, no forgiveness? No recognition that the man has paid for his crime, and that he has changed for the better?

A person shouldn't be prohibited from voting, or holding office, for an act committed as a teenager thirty years ago. Give him his voting rights, and let the public decide if they want to elect him if he runs for office.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:34 PM

3. Yes, in the U.S. there are govt offices you can't run for if you have a felony conviction.

As I said, I don't think here in Dallas a person can hold a govt office on the district level if s/he has a felony conviction. Even if you could, you couldn't get elected. No reason for people to vote for someone with a felony conviction. Most people don't have felony convictions, you know. It's unusual, and it IS being found guilty of a serious (felonious) crime.

But you still have the right to vote.

If he was a teen, he can get his record expunged.

I don't think you can run for President if you have a felony conviction.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 28, 2012, 07:44 AM

5. "I don't think you can run for President if you have a felony conviction."

Based on what? The Constitution sets those qualifications.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:36 PM

4. All that you say...you DO know that most people don't have ANY convictions, right?

Felony OR misdemeanor. Much less THREE.

People with felonies should realize that a felony conviction will affect them the rest of their lives. There will be jobs they can't get, public offices they can't hold.

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