“It’s a story told time and again in this country, even in 2013: A nonviolent offense brands someone a felon and strips them of their voting rights, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
More than a million of these disenfranchised Americans are black. Felony convictions restrict 13 percent of the country’s black male population from voting, prompting critics to portray felon disenfranchisement as an heir to the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era. Back then, black people eager to cast their ballots encountered poll taxes, literacy tests and violence. Today, the mechanisms of disenfranchisement may be more sophisticated, but they can be just as oppressive, civil rights leaders say.
“….More than 30 states have passed laws in recent years requiring voters to display photo identification, which minorities and low-income Americans disproportionately lack. Just this week, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration, cut early voting by a week and require all voters to show specific forms of state-issued ID at the polls.
Then there’s redistricting, the political maneuver by which elected officials redraw the boundaries of representation, often along partisan lines. Critics argue that this practice has diminished the electoral clout of those minorities who do vote. In North Carolina, the Republican majority that passed the new voting laws benefited from a2011 redistricting scheme that placed more than a quarter of the state’s black voters in newly divided precincts and transformed the Republicans’ 7-6 congressional district edge into a steep 9-4 advantage…..” – Saki Knafo
With a felony on one’s record it is not possible to acquire employment, housing….. the only path that is open is the path that leads back to prison………