California Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a law to give imprisoned felons the right to vote.
Brown and his followers say it will help violent offenders with their “transition back into society,” but law enforcement in the state think otherwise and oppose the idea of letting convicts vote, says the LA Times.
“We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can’t vote and you can’t possess firearms,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association.
The sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber said she thinks letting convicts vote would reduce the chances of them committing new crimes.
“Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber said when the bill was introduced.
Many believe that setting up a polling place in prison and county jails would undermine the integrity of elections.
“It is very disappointing that felons still serving their sentences behind bars will now be able to vote since Governor Brown failed to veto this really bad bill,” Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said in a statement. “Close elections, especially at the local level, could now turn on a handful of ballots cast by people in jail.”
Some have claimed that not letting convicted violent offenders vote is a form of racism.
“California is stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process,” said Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation. “Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color.”
This is not the first case in which there has been attempts to let felons vote.
In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order, which gave felons the right to vote. It is clearly a political move to make sure the state votes for Hillary Clinton in November. The move even had the Governor comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves.
Virginia is viewed as a swing state in the presidential elections and McAuliffe is close with Hilary, one can clearly see the political motivation for these acts in Virginia.