This is an issue for voters
enators Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), and Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) are chief sponsors of SB 579
. They are again trying to bypass voters to restore the voting rights of incarcerated felons so they can register and vote while serving time in prison. Proponents say it will help connect the prisoners with the community.
People are in prison for violating other people’s rights and to protect society from harm they may perpetrate. It is the consequences they face. There has to be some justice for crime if we are to live in a just and peaceful society. Does the judicial system if convicted criminals face little consequences.
A person who has been lawfully convicted of a felony has forfeited their right to vote according to the Oregon Constitution, Article II Section 3, passed in 1944. Voters approved the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law," however, voters didn't really have a choice.
Voters originally rejected the measure in 1942, which used the words denying voting privilege to “any idiot or mentally-diseased person.” This language was already in question, and in 1944 mentally-diseased person was replaced with “insane person” Over the years idiot and insane person has taken on a number of meanings,
In 1980, voters passed another amendment. The ballot measure read:
- PURPOSE - Measure proposes constitutional amendment to eliminate present language which prohibits voting by an “idiot or mentally diseased person,” changing it to guarantee full voting rights to mentally handicapped persons, unless they have been declared in the manner provided by law to be incompetent to vote.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
However, prior to 1980 there was no period (.) in Section 2, making the “unless otherwise provided by law” apply to the whole Section. But, in 1980, drafters inserted a period separating the “unless” statement to only apply to convicted criminals, deceiving voters.
- Article II, Section 3. Rights of certain electors.
- A person suffering from a mental handicap is entitled to the full rights of an elector, if otherwise qualified, unless the person has been adjudicated incompetent to vote as provided by law. The privilege of an elector, upon conviction of any crime which is punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, shall be forfeited, unless otherwise provided by law
The majority of felons are in prison due to a lack of competency and no civil responsibility or respect. If Section 3 is meant to apply “unless otherwise provided by law” to incompetent persons as voters were told, then shouldn’t it apply both ways and require convicted persons also be required to pass a competency test?
Prison is a time of rehabilitation, to gain and learn what civil responsibility means. The bill also allows registration at the last address lived at, which can cause multiple unrelated people registered at one address that don’t all live there, and interfere with voter roll cleanup efforts.
In many states felons are not able to vote even after being released from prison. Oregon restores voting privileges once they have paid their debt to society. This is an issue for voters, not for a committee that is biased because they sponsored the bill.
The Senate Committee On Judiciary will have a public hearing on SB 579
on January 26 at 1:00 PM to hear testimony. Join the War Room at Ike Box and register to testify, or submit testimony
|Post Date: 2023-01-24 10:06:42||Last Update: 2023-01-24 10:07:56|