Posted December 1, 2007
I met a woman a few weeks ago who has been working on a voting-rights project in The Bronx for several years now. She said that 48 of 50 states strip felons of voting rights and that 5 million potential voters are legally denied that basic right.
Worse, 10 to 15 million ex-offenders believe they cannot vote because of widespread misinformation. And, in New York alone, nearly 40 percent of voting officials believe that convicted felons can never regain the ballot, which is not true.
Maggie believes activity around voting rights in the 2008 national election is especially important because of what follows in 2009 – local elections. And I agree with her. Locally made decisions have far greater impact on people’s daily lives than national ones.
The election shenanigans in Florida and Ohio were very important to the Right-wing – it took control of resources and decision-making power on a vast scale. I would argue though, that widespread, ongoing electoral theft is most instructive in reminding conservatives all over the country that despite the democratic majority, power can be held onto and – especially in the South – regained.
It’s a national issue, but one we’ll have to fight state by state over many decades. As you think about independent political activity for the 2008 campaign, consider how to create opportunities to surface this crying issue and lay some local groundwork.
I suspect it will be up to radical forces to attend to the most basic work of democracy and future political power. Ta, Kate