Le site Bellaciao: coloré, multiple, ou le meilleur cotoie fort heureusement le pire, mélangé, bizarre, picabien et dadaîste, explorant toutes sortes de registres et de régimes rhétoriques, drole et polémiqueur, surréaliste: rencontre d'un parapluie et d'une machine à coudre sur une table de dissection, têtes de Lénine sur le clavier d'un piano Steinway ou Bosendorfer...
FR
ES
Senal en Vivo
VIDEO
RADIO
FRIENDS SITES
with Bellaciao
Bellaciao hosted by
To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Bellaciao  mobile version   |   Home  |   About us   |   Donation  |   Links  |   Contact  |   Search
Political Invisibles

by : Sasha Abramsky
Wednesday May 31, 2006 - 12:44
7 comments

by Sasha Abramsky

What does it mean when a democracy removes the vote from several million adults? How is the political process affected when certain groups — racial minorities and low-income whites, in particular — bear the brunt of this disenfranchisement?

These are not abstract questions intended to tax the minds of students in a poli-sci class. Rather, they are questions about a massive contraction of the franchise that is occurring, today, largely in the shadows, in the United States.

Let me explain. Over the past quarter century, the number of incarcerated Americans and those with felony records has more than quadrupled, largely because of the ways in which drug wars have played out. The African American portion of the prison population has skyrocketed — currently getting to the point where half of prisoners are black.

There are, in 2006, well over two million Americans living behind bars. If you pick up a felony, you automatically acquire a host of collateral handicaps. If it is a drug felony, you are ineligible for welfare and public housing in many states, you lose access to government loans, and depending on which state you happen to live in, you lose your political rights — your ability to vote and to sit on juries.

In many states, especially those in the old South, picking up a felony means that you can never vote again, unless you complete the extraordinarily cumbersome and time-consuming process of applying for clemency.

In Florida, where nearly three-quarters of a million residents are currently disenfranchised, people who have finished their prison, parole and probation sentences and who want to vote have to fill out pages of questions, provide an array of detailed personal information, and submit an application for clemency to the clemency board, which then makes recommendations to the governor.

Four times a year, the Florida governor convenes a panel to hear these applications. Those seeking a restoration of their voting rights have to travel to Tallahassee to petition the governor in person, a significant journey for a poor person from Miami who has to find travel money, hotel money and also the money to absorb income lost from days off work. While tens of thousands start this process, the governor only hears about 50 cases per session. As a result, far more people lose their vote each year than can possibly hope to regain it.

In Mississippi, the process is even more restrictive. To get their vote back, a Mississippi felon has to convince a member of the legislature to introduce a bill specifically re-enfranchising that individual; both houses of the legislature have to support the bill; and the governor has to sign it.

Not surprisingly, few people navigate these mazes successfully, and as a result, more than five percent of all adults and a quarter of adult, male African Americans in the South are legally prevented from voting by state authorities.

Anyone who pays any attention to politics knows that we’re a country divided. While the 2000 presidential election produced the freak outcome of an almost-exactly tied race, with the electoral college coming down to Florida and Florida coming down to a few hundred votes, we’re in a period where Republicans and Democrats are both able to rely on support from nearly half the eligible electorate, leaving a couple million votes on the margins to decide electoral outcomes.

With more and more low-income people now being funneled into the criminal justice system — the result of a recalibration of social priorities that has led America in recent decades to embrace a scale of incarceration not seen anywhere else on earth — more and more people are returning to society as political invisibles. They complete their sentences, and yet they remain without rights of political participation that most of us assume to be universal.

These political invisibles have a dramatic effect on election outcomes. I argue this point in my new book, "Conned," a political travelogue that, in the months leading up to the 2004 election, took me from Washington State across country to Florida. In "Conned" I detail how, while many of the voteless had too many other things to worry about to care about casting ballots come Election Day, many others were desperate to vote.

Lloyd Brown, in Virginia, had spent the better part of a decade trying to convince state election officials to let him vote again. First he’d encountered active resistance, then, when a new governor came in who wanted to re-enfranchise people, he found the elections department had lost his paperwork and he had to start the multi-year process again from scratch.

In Nashville, Tennessee, Jamaica S. spent five years trying to get re-enfranchised after losing her vote on an accessory charge that had only resulted in 15 months probation. Clinton Drake, a Vietnam veteran living in Alabama, had been permanently disenfranchised following a marijuana conviction. Victoria, in Washington State, had lost her voting rights after committing welfare fraud. All of these men and women told me how frustrated, ashamed, and humiliated they felt because they couldn’t vote.

Take an increasing number of poor people out of the process, and politics is increasingly becoming a game played by, and for, the affluent classes. Remove the voting power of the urban poor, for example, and issues of importance to inner-city America are unlikely to get much attention when politicians are busily stumping for votes come election time.

Since we presumably want ex-cons to rehabilitate themselves and become law-abiding stakeholders in the community, we should encourage, rather than prohibit, their political participation. By not doing so, society has given up on them. By not doing so, society is keeping them invisible.

==========

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist and senior fellow at Demos, a New York-based policy institute. He is the author of the recently-published book "Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House. (The New Press, 2006).



Leave a comment
Print this article


Commentaires de l'article
 

> Political Invisibles
Wednesday May 31 - 15:57 - Posted by 1ccbf2d5512a875e...

Reinstating the vote for ex felons is a good step. But you are fooling yourself if you think that, "we are in a period where Republicans and Democrats are both able to rely on support from nearly half the eligible electorate, leaving a couple million votes on the margins to decide electoral outcomes." Millions upon millions of votes are miscounted, due to electronic voting with no verifable paper trail. WE ARE ALL POLITICAL INVISIBLES. We need to demand accountability from our congress to ensure a fair vote for those that are allowed at the polls. And we need to ensure that excons have reasonable access to clemency. To demand voter verified paper records in all 50 states visit this link http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/in...




> Political Invisibles
Wednesday May 31 - 18:37 - Posted by ee1a7063350cb642...

It is debatable whether vote rigging has been a mainstay of American politics since day 1, but it is a certainty now that the "democratic process" has been subverted and the millions of Americans who cast votes in elections might as well stay home. Rather than being the premier democracy in the world, the United States is ruled by an oligarchy dedicated to the maintenance and expansion of its power, not only here in the U.S. but all over the globe. Anyone who thinks that this ruling class would allow for free elections that could threaten their control ought to have his or her head examined. Americans are no longer "citizens." They are "subjects."




> Political Invisibles
Thursday June 1 - 18:07 - Posted by d5b97dbdbcd941c6...

"It is enough that the people know there was an election.
The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything".

Joseph Stalin.

The necons are in reality Trotskyites, who learned a lot from Stalinists, apparently.



> Political Invisibles
Saturday June 3 - 21:48 - Posted by 2db819c34710735e...

Socialism is a political system where a small minority control the political and economical processes.

Conservatism is a political system where a small minority control the political and economical processes.

Both are open to extremes of behaviour. One fact the writer omits, and that is that 90+% of prison inmates are poor. However, elections change far less than large groups of people, such as trade unions and armies. In my humble opinion, given its` short history of slavery, bigotry and global warmongering, and now almost completely catamitically acquiescent to the demented whims of a sociopathic and religiously obsessed minority. (a.k.a. the NEOCONS), ordinary and decent secular americans are now beyond hoping for change at the ballot box.



> Political Invisibles
Tuesday June 6 - 13:49 - Posted by bef8c2109cee26e4...

I still think there is hope for change through the will of the people, if enough of them can get behind a good idea and force the change. The constituion points out that the citizens are the last line of defense to protect the integrity of democracy. Yes we have failed to do so in the past, but things have never been so dire as now. There is so much negativity on this site, and really the powers that be only control the masses through our consent. They are not as all powerful as most people on this site tend to believe as long as we withhold our consent en masse. People are waking up to the truth, and it will reach a point where it will breakthrough into the mainstream as an evolutionary leap. It’s not only possible, it’s probable. But all the victims who think we have lost control need to be reminded that we can be the power to bring about the change.



> Political Invisibles
Sunday June 4 - 09:36 - Posted by 526aa6e29f04bf3f...

yea, that is the reason why they incarserate so many people. It’s a modern day Jim Crow laws. next they will bring back slavery. or maybe they allready have. Don’t inmates earn .05 cents per hour? There you go hey slavery is alive and well. hahhahahahahaaha







Public Apology to Women of the World from The American Republic (Hypatia of Alex
Monday 31 - 15:21
by Willam Morgan
YES, THERE WILL BE ELECTION FRAUD, AND ON A GRAND SCALE
Sunday 23 - 18:32
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Hillary Clinton will be first female President 2017
Monday 10 - 17:21
by Willam Morgan
Police Shootings: Law, Policy, and Accountability
Thursday 6 - 14:22
by William John Cox
AMERICA DESERVES BETTER, BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE WORLD DESERVES BETTER
Thursday 29 - 18:02
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Back to School for Fascist Dupont-Aignan
Thursday 15 - 11:32
by Nouveau Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes
The Presidency: Character Matters
Friday 9 - 15:06
by William John Cox
WHY HILLARY IS THE PERFECT PERSON TO SECURE OBAMA’S LEGACY
Tuesday 30 - 18:08
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Remake of Ben Hur in 2020 planned by new motion picture studio
Friday 26 - 15:50
by Wallace
THE CASE FOR DONALD TRUMP
Monday 22 - 19:32
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES IS DEAD
Thursday 11 - 06:42
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
DONALD TRUMP AND THE GENIUS OF IDIOCY
Friday 5 - 00:47
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
FOOLING MOST OF THE PEOPLE MOST OF THE TIME IS WHAT AMERICAN POLITICS ARE ABOUT,
Friday 29 - 18:13
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
A message of your fellow striking workers from France
Tuesday 12 - 20:49
by Info’Com-CGT
The Right to Vote, Effectively
Friday 8 - 22:20
by William John Cox
Fourth of July Lies
Sunday 3 - 19:41
by June C. Terpstra
Who Should Make Political Policy, the People or the Politicians?
Friday 24 - 15:14
by William John Cox
Hollow Women of the Hegemon Part II: Atrocity Enabling Harpies
Tuesday 21 - 18:49
by Dr. June Terpstra
The American Republic Manifestum book is being made into a Movie
Saturday 11 - 15:54
by William Morgan
Write-in Voting and Political Protest
Wednesday 1 - 15:05
by William John Cox
Yves Bouvier art battle plays out in online and social media arena
Tuesday 31 - 21:12
by Dean Bagley
Damaged Candidate Clinton Can’t Call Out Trump
Friday 27 - 13:53
by Daniel Patrick Welch
PLEDGE OF THE NEW REPUBLICAN PARTY
Tuesday 24 - 21:53
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
LET TEXAS SECEDE
Thursday 19 - 00:53
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
LAS TRES ERRES A LA ENÉSIMA POTENCIA.-
Monday 16 - 15:35
by FREDDY SUBDIAGA
DEMAGOGIA POPULISTA...
Monday 16 - 15:26
by FREDDY SUBDIAGA
Oligarchs Won’t Let You Vote Their Wars Away
Wednesday 11 - 20:24
by Daniel Patrick Welch
AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDR
Monday 9 - 20:40
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support the American Republic Manifestum
Monday 9 - 16:37
by William Morgan
Transformation: A Student-Led Mass Political Movement
Monday 25 - 19:28
by William John Cox
Algerian Feminists react to ’Hijab Day’ in Paris 2016
Monday 25 - 01:13
THE ILLUSION OF RIGHTS
Friday 22 - 18:45
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
US is real superpredator pretending to be victim
Monday 18 - 22:23
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Gaiacomm International has accidently created a fusion reaction/ignition.
Sunday 17 - 17:01
by William Morgan
Clinton’s Campaign Continues to Highlight Horrible Hillary
Saturday 9 - 00:57
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Armoiries racistes à Harvard : Plaidoyer pour la réflexion socio-historique
Thursday 7 - 18:56
by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
THANK YOU MISSISSIPPI FOR YOUR HATE
Wednesday 6 - 02:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
The PKK in Iraq: “We are ready to fight ISIS everywhere in the world”
Monday 4 - 14:33
by InfoAut
Clinton Crashes and Burns, Sanders Will Win (But hold off on the applause)
Friday 1 - 22:33
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Confirming Supreme Court Justices and Electing Presidents
Friday 1 - 20:59
by William John Cox

home | webmaster



Follow-up of the site's activity
RSS Bellaciao En


rss FR / rss IT / rss ES



Bellaciao hosted by DRI

Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry. Susan B. Anthony
Facebook Twitter Google+
DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase « right to asylum », every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
read more...
Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
read more...
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
read more...
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
read more...
THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
read more...
I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
read more...
ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
read more...
HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
read more...
PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
read more...