Saturday, November 3, 2012

O'Hara on Voting, Crime

PardonPower recommends a very fine editorial by John O'Hara, entitled "Voting is a Right, Not a Crime." It appears at TimesUnion.com. We have discussed Mr. O'Hara's case several times before. As he describes it:
In 1996, I was picked out of 1 million voters and indicted on felony charges that could have landed me in prison for 28 years. I didn't vote twice in the same day, nor did I vote from a sham address. I voted from a place that was not my "principal and permanent" residence. It was the first time anyone had been prosecuted on a voting residency issue, and the first time a person in Brooklyn was tried three times. The saga endured for years. I managed to avoid going to prison, but I was disbarred from the practice of law, confined by probation, fined $20,000 and ordered to perform 1,500 hours of community service. 
O'Hara notes that, since 2010, "30 states have passed what are benignly referred to as 'Voter ID' laws" but, until 2006, "no state required a person to produce ID to vote." He also notes that "almost all of the states that enacted these laws are controlled by Republicans" and courts "have called these laws into question recognizing that they are designed to prevent the elderly, poor and people of color from voting."

Says O' Hara: 
The days of state troopers using attack dogs on voters are over. They were too confrontational, too messy and, in the end, they backfired. The smoother way is the Republican way — make laws that allow the politically appointed registrars to purge the list of "undesirables." This isn't George Wallace's Alabama. It's worse, and it reflects a sign of the times. 
America has "5 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of its prison population" but "voting should not be a crime. Read the complete, very informative editorial here. Sign the online petition for O'Hara's pardon here

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online