When we see these FAKE election reform policies being pushed by global banking 5% freemason/Greek players pretending to care about US FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS----we see policies which will make being a candidate MORE EXCLUSIVE.
'ONCE A CANDIDATE HAS RAISED THIS MUCH CAMPAIGN FUNDS---THEN THE PUBLIC FINANCE WILL KICK IN'.
Now, what we read in this policy is: a candidate must RAISE THIS MUCH MONEY to be considered an OFFICIAL CANDIDATE. That is NOT the election law NOW------these election reforms are killing opportunity for all 99% WE THE PEOPLE to be OFFICIAL CANDIDATES.
BALTIMORE MAYORS AND CITY COUNCIL NEVER SEND A REFERENDUM FOR VOTE THAT IS NOT LYING AND HIDING KILLING 99% OF WE THE BALTIMORE CITIZENS.
What we are seeing is election reform that will REQUIRE CAMPAIGN MONEY for a candidate to be OFFICIAL. Remember, the goal of our US 99% WE THE PEOPLE is to get money out of elections.
Voters Get A Voice On Big Money: Baltimore Voters To Decide On Publicly Funded Elections
Thursday, October 4, 2018
This November, Baltimore voters will decide whether local elections should be publicly financed, a step towards curbing the influence of big money in Baltimore politics.
On July 30, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh signed the proposed amendment, thereby allowing voters to decide whether the city should allow public funding of local election campaigns. If voters approve the amendment, the city would match small-dollar donations for eligible candidates starting in the 2024 election.
"With this ballot question, Baltimore voters have the power to move closer to a government that works for the people, not big money," said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. "This is how democracy should work."
Public funding of elections would limit the influence of wealthy donors and interest groups, while also encouraging a candidates from all walks of life to run for office.
MarylandPIRG partnered with community members, local and national legislators, and like-minded organizations to push for campaign finance reform."
“The days of big money politics in Baltimore are coming to an end,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “Thanks to Mayor Pugh'
Now, there is no bigger far-right wing global banking 1% ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE pol then BALTIMORE MAYOR PUGH as Maryland PIRG knows. This is yet another global NGO----as too COMMON CAUSE-----working to make far-right wing CLINTON/OBAMA look 'LEFT' SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE.
We will see the freedom of any US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE to run for elected office disappear with these ELECTION REFORMS sold as election FAIRNESS.
'The Fair Elections program is expected to be ready for the 2024 elections and function in a way that’s similar to programs in Montgomery and Howard counties':
Any election referendum coming from Baltimore mayor or city council is coming from global banking 1% -----MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE for only the global 1%.
Baltimore City Mayor Pugh Signs Fair Election Fund Charter Amendment
07.31.2018 / 2:04 PM
- Damon Effingham Executive Director, Common Cause Maryland Ph: o: 410-310-0737 email@example.com
- Dianne Saenz East Region Communications Strategist firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emily Scarr Director, Maryland PIRG Ph: o: 410-310-0737 email@example.com
Voters Will Decide if City Moves Forward with Small Donor Public Financing
Baltimore, MD, July 30, 2018 –
Mayor Catherine Pugh today signed Council Bill 18-0229, a charter amendment to establish the Fair Elections Fund and Citizen Commission. If approved by Baltimore voters this November, Baltimore City would join Montgomery and Howard Counties in creating a new way to fund elections. It would allow Maryland candidates to compete on the power of their ideas instead of the size of wealthy supporters’ bank accounts.
The Fair Elections Baltimore coalition applauded Mayor Pugh, Sponsor Councilmember Burnett and the full council for their support of the program.
“Baltimoreans deserve to have their voices heard in City elections,” said Damon Effingham, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland. “For the past three cycles, we’ve seen City elections become more and more expensive. We’ve seen more and more influence from Super PACs and corporate interests. We thank the Council and Mayor Pugh for recognizing this unfairness and efforts to focus on Baltimoreans and their concerns.”
“The days of big money politics in Baltimore are coming to an end,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “Thanks to Mayor Pugh, Baltimoreans can vote for the Fair Elections Fund this November and start building a democracy that works for us, not special interests.”
“Mayor Pugh’s actions today show that she understands that working families in Baltimore City deserve to have their voices heard,” said Maryland Working Families Acting Executive Director Jay Hutchins. “This effort will help empower voters, strengthen local democracy, allow candidates and elected officials to spend more time with their constituents, and rein in the influence of big money in our elections.”
“Baltimoreans want access to clean water and healthy air,” said Clean Water Action Maryland Program Coordinator Emily Ranson. “With the Fair Elections Fund, we can ensure candidates for city government can run campaigns without pressure to accept donations from polluting industries or corporations that value profit over protecting public health.”
IF ONLY WE COULD GET OUR FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL BANKING FAKE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS TO FIGHT FOR REAL LEFT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES THEN THEY MIGHT FIGHT FOR REAL FAIR ELECTION POLICIES.
The charter amendment was sponsored by Councilman Kristerfer Burnett and passed unanimously by the City Council. The Charter Amendment establishes the Fair Elections Fund and an independent commission to identify sources of revenue for the fund. If passed by voters, the City Council would need to finalize details of the program to provide limited matching funds for qualifying candidates who don’t accept large donations or special interest money. This would enable candidates without access to wealth to run for office and reduce the influence of large and corporate donors in the electoral process.
The Fair Elections program is expected to be ready for the 2024 elections and function in a way that’s similar to programs in Montgomery and Howard counties: participating candidates for City Council, City Comptroller and Mayor who reject all large (greater than $150 in Montgomery County) and special interest dollars and meet qualifying thresholds would be eligible for limited matching funds. That means no PAC, union or corporate donations are allowed. The matching funds amplify the power of regular Baltimoreans’ donations, while reducing the influence of developers, corporations and other wealthy interests that have previously wielded outsized influence in Baltimore city.
The other election 'reform' under way by far-right wing global banking 1% OLD WORLD KINGS AND QUEENS is getting rid of our ability as CANDIDATES and as VOTERS to cast a vote for a WRITE-IN candidate. As we see here, most Maryland voters AND ME TOO do not vote for the LEAST WORST-----we have been WRITING-IN candidates when we go to voting machines. The election laws require a citizen to have voted in previous elections in order to be an OFFICIAL CANDIDATE-----so, the only way to remain eligible to be a candidate---is to VOTE WRITE-IN.
These are all DISENFRANCHISED MARYLAND voters-----coming from 99% right wing and left wing----refusing to vote for LEAST WORST.
We heard a decade ago that MOVING FORWARD ELECTION REFORMS will end WRITE-IN CANDIDATE---both for candidates wanting to run---and for voters wanting to vote WRITE-IN.
Registered Write-in Candidates for President Up 60 Percent in Maryland
By Scott MacFarlane
Published Nov 4, 2016 at 12:39 PM | Updated at 12:41 PM EDT on Nov 4, 2016Trending Stories
Maryland State Board of Elections records show a 60 percent spike in registered presidential write-in candidates in the 2016 election. The candidates include citizens from several states and a handful from the Washington, D.C., suburbs in Maryland.
Though the quantity of write-in candidates is highly unlikely to impact the outcome of the presidential race in Maryland, the increase is significant and creating extra work for employees of the State Board of Elections.
Several of the candidates told News4 they were inspired to run for the White House because of dissatisfaction with the federal government or the other candidates on the ballot.
Research scientist Dr. JJ Vogel-Walcutt, an officially registered write-in candidate from Orlando, Florida, said education is a top issue in her platform.
“I am like a trainer you might use in the gym but for your brain,” she said.
Her husband, Chris, is listed as her vice-presidential running mate. Her campaign website offers sales of coffee mugs reading “I love America” and high-heels colored with an image of the American flag.
Chris Jackson, a comic from Mitchellville, Maryland, who refers to herself as “Sistah Soldjah,” is also officially registered as a presidential candidate. When asked for her top campaign issue, Jackson responded “common sense.” She said her running mate would be someone named “Missy Thang, because she doesn't miss a thing.”
Other official candidates include Martin Carlisle, a college professor from Pennsylvania who said he is running for president to restore civility to government. Carlisle told News4 he’s chosen a math professor from the University of North Texas as a running mate.
Retired U.S. Postal Service employee Richard Duncan of Ohio said his platform includes 10-year term limits for members of Congress to prevent government officials from being beholden to the wealthy.
Michael Puskar, a property manager from Gaithersburg, Maryland, said he officially registered as a write-in candidate because he wants a working class citizen to serve as president.
“As for a veep, I would have liked Bernie Sanders simply for a political edge," Puskar said. “All the write-ins he would have had, plus my filing in other states, and the simple fact of his popularity, might have given (us) a shear victory and history in the making.”
Michael Maturen, a sales professional from northern Michigan, has chosen a running mate from Texas. Maturen said his platform includes “creating local economies.”
Laurence Kotlikoff, an economics professor from Boston, said growing debt and the threat of ISIS are his primary campaign issues.
House painter Joe Schriner said he is running as a concerned Midwestern parent "who doesn't want his kids, or anyone's kids, inheriting a world of abortion, climate change chaos, the nexus of unending terrorism and war, abject poverty, an astronomical national debt."
Ending abortion is his primary issue.
"With 60 million abortions to date in America, we are living in a modern-day Holocaust unparalleled in the history of mankind, and as president, I would regularly stand in solidarity with people protesting abortion on the streets in order to create a climate similar to what was created in the South to end segregation," he said. "It was those kinds of protests that finally drove the legislation to stop segregation, and it would be the same with abortion."
Flight attendant Mary Thomas first had the idea to run as a write-in candidate in 2012 before she was old enough to run when she saw Santa Claus as a write-in candidate.
"And naturally, my next thought was, well, if Santa Claus can get his name on the ballot, then why can't I?" she said.
She said her goal now is to reach voters dissatisfied with the major party candidates.
In 2012, Maryland had only 32 write-in candidates. They included former Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.), TV star Roseanne Barr and a person listed officially as “Santa Claus.”
The deadline for registering as a write-in candidate for office in Maryland was 5 p.m. Tuesday. Filing fees were not required, but state law mandated all official candidates file a “certificate of candidacy” with the Maryland board of elections.
Vogul-Walcutt has posted instructions on how to cast a write-in vote on her campaign website, including guidance on how to spell her name.
In August, Maryland State Board of Elections Assistant Administrator Donna Duncan said the electronic voting systems used in prior elections made it easier for election officials to collect the names of write-in candidates. With the return of the paper ballots, the state’s records would include a spreadsheet in which images of cast ballots are stored, Duncan said. Those images will include the handwritten names of write-in choices.
According to records posted by the state board of elections, local vote canvassers will officially tally all votes received by officially registered write-in candidates.
The last election/voting public policy issue for our US 99% WE THE PEOPLE has to do with what is indeed MORE TAXATION ----this time under the guise of free and fair elections. Most US citizens resent having to check a box on our US Federal tax return for donation to public funding of elections. We pay enough taxes for FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL governments to kick in already collected tax revenue to fund lots of open public forums throughout all election seasons. What does it cost to open a public K-12 or UNIVERSITY/public libraries on weekends for candidate meet and greets----discussions and forums?
What does it cost to under-write a few public forums on TV, RADIO?
So, what we are seeing MOVING FORWARD ELECTION REFORM is more and more reasons to TAX our 99% of WE THE PEOPLE. If we are made to feel the only way a candidate can be OFFICIAL is having citizens spending more and more of their personal wealth above TAXES-----we are not seeing 99% POPULIST election reform ----we are being killed with FAR-RIGHT WING global banking 1% wanting MORE AND MORE TAX REVENUE.
NONE OF THIS IS REAL LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVE---IT IS ALL FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL BANKING 1% OLD WORLD KINGS AND QUEENS----
How public funding of elections makes politics even more polarized
By John Sides
January 15, 2015
Public funding of elections — that is, relying on tax revenue more than private donations to fund candidate campaigns — is a popular campaign finance reform proposal, if one that many Americans don’t fully embrace. Public funding is often thought to free candidates from the burden of fundraising and reduce the influence of wealthy donors and special interests. That all sounds good. Who likes “special interests,” after all?
Now, new research shows that public funding has an unexpected consequence: increased polarization. That is, public funding makes it harder, not easier, to elect moderate candidates.
That is the conclusion of political scientist Andrew Hall. He focuses on state legislative elections and compares trends in the five states that implemented robust public funding programs — Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — to trends in other states. Here is what he finds:
- As intended, public funding reduces the financial advantage of incumbents.
- As intended, public funding reduces the incumbents’ margin of victory. That is, it makes elections more competitive.
- Not intended: public financing makes polarization in the state legislature worse.
Below is a graph showing the distribution of ideology (“NP scores”) in legislatures in states that implemented public financing (the “treated” states) and those that did not (the “control” states). The first group of states became more polarized after the implementation of public financing. But no such change occurred during this time in the states that didn’t implement public financing.
Graph by Andrew HallIn a more elaborate statistical analysis, Hall examines the gap between Republican and Democratic legislators representing similar districts. In a polarized legislature, a Republican and a Democrat will tend to vote in very different ways even though they represent essentially the same constituents. Hall finds that public financing increases this gap between the parties by 30 percent.
Why does public financing appear to have this effect?
Hall argues that public financing weakens the influence of a maligned, but moderating, force in elections: access-oriented interest groups. Public financing reduces the funding supplied by these groups by over $20,000 per race, on average. The problem is that these groups give relatively little to ideologically extreme legislators and much more to moderates. Individual donors, however, have no such preference.
This leads to a broader point about campaign finance and polarization. Much of the debate over campaign finance is based on distinctions between “good” donors and “bad” donors. Good donors are taxpayers, in a public financing system. Or, in a privately funded system, good donors are ordinary citizens, sometimes called “small donors.” Bad donors are political party organizations, wealthy people, political action committees, and interest groups.
The problem is that if you want to reduce polarization, this way of thinking about donors gets things exactly backward. Small donors are a polarizing influence, as Adam Bonica has shown. Meanwhile, wealthy people tend to be a moderating influence. The same is true of many political action committees and interest groups. The same is true of political party organizations, as Brian Schaffner and Ray La Raja argue in this post.
That’s not to say that there aren’t good reasons to favor public financing or small donors. But favoring those things may also mean living with the trade-off: a more polarized, and probably less functional, politics.
What we see MOVING FORWARD here in Baltimore/Maryland as around the nation being sold as a 99% populist election reform is among other issues the return to what will be hidden in policy language----THE POLL TAX.
This is to where BALTIMORE MAYOR PUGH and CITY COUNCIL are MOVING FORWARD -----not that Baltimore hasn't already knocked hundreds of thousands of citizens from voting simply because of the RIGGING AND FRAUD IN ELECTIONS.
ANY VOTING or POPULIST ELECTION GROUP would be shouting this PROACTIVELY.
'and the state’s felon disenfranchisement policies are probably unconstitutional'
Our US southern states are being ROCKED with global banking 5% freemason/Greek players/pols because our US south is earliest in building US FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES filled with FOREIGN GLOBAL FACTORIES---with our US 99% WE THE SOUTHERN CITIZENS getting mad as heck. As we stated, the Federal funding for NEW ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES targeting the south and BLUE-COLLAR JOE DELAWARE---AND SMOKING COREY BOOKER NEW JERSEY-------is simply securing VOTING returns to far-right wing global banking 1% morphing into LIBERTARIAN MARXISTS. We know our 99% of southern citizens would not be voting MARXIST.
Here is ALABAMA as too Maryland/Baltimore returning to POLL TAX to keep our 99% WE THE PEOPLE increasingly made poor in higher percentages-----from the US ELECTION PROCESS.
Mayor Pugh and Baltimore City Council MOVING FORWARD these same ELECTION POLL TAXES while pretending to protect our US free and fair elections.
Hmmmmmm, me thinks NAACP protests too often the WRONG POLICY ISSUES
'Deuel Ross, assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, said that the fact that Alabama “links voting to the ability to pay” has a disparate impact on black felons that indirectly suppresses the vote of African Americans who are not felon
We are sure all these attacks on our US free and fair elections open to all US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE black, white, and brown citizens will only be aimed at THIS POPULATION GROUP or THAT POPULATION GROUP-----surely not OUR POPULATION GROUP
'A Poll Tax in New Hampshire
State Republicans’ insidious new scheme to disenfranchise college students.
By Mark Joseph Stern
Dec 04, 20177:15 AM'
Too poor to vote: how Alabama’s ‘new poll tax’ bars thousands of people from voting
Wed 4 Oct 2017 07.30 EDT Last modified on Sat 6 Oct 2018 18.08 EDT THE GUARDIAN
In Alabama, money keeps thousands of people away from the ballot box – and the state’s felon disenfranchisement policies are probably unconstitutional
Wed 4 Oct 2017 07.30 EDT Last modified on Sat 6 Oct 2018 18.08 EDT
Randi Lynn Williams: her debt, known as legal financial obligations, total more than $11,500. Photograph: Connor Sheets
Randi Lynn Williams assumes she will never be able to afford to vote again.
The 38-year-old resident of Dothan, Alabama, lost her right to vote in 2008, when she was convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card. She was on probation for over two years, then served a few months behind bars ending in early 2011, at which point she would have been eligible to vote in most states.
In Maine and Vermont, she would have never lost that right in the first place. But in Alabama and eight other states from Nevada to Tennessee, anyone who has lost the franchise cannot regain it until they pay off any outstanding court fines, legal fees and victim restitution.
In Alabama, that requirement has fostered an underclass of thousands of people who are unable to vote because they do not have enough money.
For folks like Williams, who said she regularly voted before her conviction in 2008, poverty is the only remaining obstacle to participation in the electoral process.
“When all this started, the county told me I lost my right to vote and I don’t get my vote back until I pay all my fines and costs and get off probation and all that,” she said.
‘Poll tax in extreme’
Alabama’s felon disenfranchisement policies are probably unconstitutional, and they have disparate impacts on felons who are poor, black, or both, according to experts.
In 1964, the 24th amendment abolished the poll tax, but to this day in Alabama, money keeps thousands of people away from the ballot box. According to the Sentencing Project, a Washington DC-based criminal justice reform non-profit, there are 286,266 disenfranchised felons in Alabama, or 7.62% of the state’s voting-age population.
More than half of those disenfranchised felons are black, despite the fact that African Americans made up only 26.8% of the state’s population as of July 2016, according to a US census estimate.
A new state law has cleared the way for people convicted of certain felonies to eventually regain the right to vote. But before that can happen, anyone who has lost the franchise in Alabama for any reason must first fulfill any financial obligations to the state and to their victims, according to the Alabama secretary of state, John Merrill.
“In order for you to have your voting rights restored, you have to make sure all your fines and restitution have been paid,” Merrill said in a phone interview last month.
Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard and Yale universities crunched reams of Alabama court records and data from the past two decades for a study published in June in the Journal of Legal Studies.
The research paper states that “a majority of all ex-felons in Alabama – white, black, or otherwise – cannot vote because of a debt they owe to the state.”
Scott Douglas, executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, said such widespread disenfranchisement amounts to “the poll tax in extreme”, and that it has a detrimental impact on the democratic process in Alabama.
“I think it’s absolutely horrific. It’s a financial burden to voting, and once again, against people who are least able to pay it. It’s like a poll tax. It’s a barrier to voting. It’s a voting suppression tactic,” he said.
“Rich people can buy the right to vote. Poor people can’t.”
Saddled with debt
As a disabled recovering drug addict, Williams’s only source of income is the $772 she gets each month from social security. She has never been charged with a violent crime.
Yet Williams was saddled with fines, fees and restitutions – debts known as legal financial obligations – totaling more than $11,500 as a result of her 2011 credit card fraud conviction.
Only about $4,600 of that obligation is restitution to the victim of her crime; the rest is made up of various fines and fees, as well as interest assessed for not paying quickly enough.
Six years later, Williams – a white woman who owes thousands more in connection with multiple other non-violent felony convictions over the past two decades – still owes more than $9,000 for the 2011 conviction alone.
Such financial barriers amount to “an unconstitutional poll tax that discriminates against individuals on the basis of wealth”, according to Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.
“Denying returning citizens their fundamental right to vote because they are too poor to afford fines and costs unnecessarily excludes them from the democratic process and impedes their rehabilitation,” Marshall said via email.
“The right to go to the polls and vote should never ever be dependent on one’s financial status.”
Williams said that she struggles to make monthly payments on her legal financial obligations and that she does not believe she will ever be able to pay them off in full.
“They won’t let you let go of your past,” she said. “They tell you don’t let your past define who you are. Well, how are we not going to let our past define who we are if you keep bringing it up to us?”
In May, Governor Kay Ivey signed a law called the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act that advocates hoped would lead to large numbers of felons across the state becoming eligible to restore their right to vote. The law, which went into effect in August, created a list of “crimes of moral turpitude” – felonies that result in the automatic disenfranchisement of anyone who is convicted of one.
Before the law was passed, determinations of what crimes were considered “of moral turpitude” were made on a case-by-case basis by individual counties’ boards of registrars. That approach resulted in wide disparities in who lost the vote between different counties.
The Definition of Moral Turpitude Act eliminated that slapdash system, and consequently, many felons who had previously lost the right to vote were deemed to have committed crimes minor enough that they should not result in that consequence.
But the policy requiring them to first pay off any fees, fines and restitution has resulted in a sizeable population of Alabama felons who have not committed crimes that would have resulted in them losing the franchise under the new law, yet they remain unable to restore their voting rights solely because of their financial situation.
Tari Williams, organizing director at Greater Birmingham Ministries, works with felons from across the state to try to help them restore their voting rights. She said that she has encountered “a number of people” who have only ever been convicted of crimes not considered “of moral turpitude” under the new law, but who are barred from regaining the right to vote because they have outstanding legal financial obligations.
“They are saying your rights shouldn’t have been taken in the first place, but now in order to get your right to vote back you first have to pay your fees and fines off,” she said.
“That’s not fair at all because the person shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place.”
The indigency quandary
In 1970, the US supreme court ruled in Williams v Illinois that courts must take a defendant’s ability to pay – whether or not the defendant is “indigent” – into account when imposing punishment for non-payment of fines.
And the Alabama rules of criminal procedure say that when courts in the state decide whether or not to impose a fine in a criminal case, they should consider “the financial resources and obligations of the defendant and the burden that fine will impose” and “the ability of the defendant to pay a fine”.
But attorneys, advocates and academics say judges in Alabama appear to be ignoring or disregarding that guidance.
“Policies like Alabama’s, which distinguish among offenders on basis of wealth, may also pay insufficient attention to indigency,” the June study in the Journal of Legal Studies states.
Its authors looked at whether or not a felon was represented by a public defender as a proxy for identifying less wealthy clients. They found “a strong, and statistically significant, correlation between the probability of having an outstanding [legal financial obligation] balance and the use of a public defender, suggesting that current policy may be disenfranchising a number of people, who cannot afford, rather than refuse, to buy back their right to vote”.
African American men vote for the first time since 1890 in the 1946 Democratic primary. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
The researchers looked at more than 1,000 Alabama felons who had completed any prison terms and periods of probation or parole to which they had been sentenced. They found that about 75% of them still owed legal financial obligations, meaning they could not regain the right to vote even if they would otherwise be able to do so.
Marc Meredith, an associate political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was one of the study’s co-publishers. He said in a phone interview last month that Alabama’s policy requiring the payment of fines, fees and restitution prior to the restoration of voting rights has had a significant impact on the electorate in the state.
“People should be aware of the share of people disenfranchised by policies like this and how much money people have to pay before they can get their voting rights back,” he said. “Even with people who are 15 years removed from their conviction, the majority of them can’t vote because of their financial obligations.”
Jim Crow 2.0Of the more than 280,000 disenfranchised felons in Alabama, 143,924 are black, according to the Sentencing Project. That means that disenfranchised felons make up 15.11% of the state’s voting-age African American population.
And black felons are 9.4% less likely to be eligible to vote in Alabama because of outstanding fines, fees and restitution, according to the June study in the Journal of Legal Studies.
“[W]e find that black defendants are significantly more likely to be ineligible to restore their voting rights due to [legal financial obligations],” the study states. “Together these findings suggest that [legal financial obligations] are a general threat to racial equality above and beyond the forces of mass incarceration.”
Alexandria Parrish, an attorney with Evans Law Firm in Homewood, has years of experience representing clients who have been criminally disenfranchised. She sees the practice as a way to keep poor and black people away from the ballot box.
“They’ve got so many ways of skinning a cat, and I think most of it is to keep people from being able to vote so they can vote their own people in,” she said. “This is like Jim Crow 2.0. They can keep them from voting.”
Deuel Ross, assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, said that the fact that Alabama “links voting to the ability to pay” has a disparate impact on black felons that indirectly suppresses the vote of African Americans who are not felons.
“You’re seeing large numbers of African Americans being unable to vote,” he said. “And there’s this idea of community contagion. The way it’s been used before by the Legal Defense Fund is to describe the idea that once you have a large percent of the population – 10, 15% of the population – being unable to vote because of felon disenfranchisement laws, it begins to impact a larger percent of the population … If your mother or father can’t vote, you never learn the importance of voting.”
Carmone Owens said he considers the idea that someone could be barred from voting simply because they cannot afford to pay off their fees, fines and restitution to be “the epitome of disenfranchisement”.
Convicted of first-degree armed robbery in 2007, he was released on parole in 2015 after serving eight years of a 35-year prison sentence. The black Birmingham resident, who now advocates for felons’ rights, is not eligible to vote until 2042 unless he receives a full pardon – and pays off his legal financial obligations.
“The right to vote should never be tied to the level of one’s debt,” he said. “It’s a moral issue and if you want people to come back and transition back into society, one of the fundamental tenets of society is the right to be able to vote.”
Our US Constitution and BILL OF RIGHTS is unique to any Western and overseas third world nation ----it was written specifically to give US CITIZENS the right to LEGISLATE-----meaning the right to ELECT/VOTE for a political representative. When we allowed these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA global banking 5% freemason/Greek player/pols to ignore our US Federal laws and constitution----allowed this attack on our US sovereignty----we opened the door to FRAUDULENT AND RIGGED US ELECTIONS.
We see lots of far-right wing 5% freemason/Greek player BILL OF RIGHTS groups---again, refusing to address the GORILLA-IN-ROOM issues on our ELECTIONS/VOTING/BILL OF RIGHTS.
REMEMBER, CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA as ROBBER BARON pols are rogue and criminal politicians----they are thus disqualified from passing laws, from appointing judges or agency heads-----
any laws passed MOVING FORWARD CAN AND WILL BE VOIDED.
How the U.S. Constitution Has Evolved Over Time
America has grown and changed during the last 200 years, and so has the U.S. Constitution, including amendments to our voting laws and age, and limiting presidential terms in office.
3–5, 6–8, 9–12
In 1787, only white men over 21 could vote, and the President could serve for as long as he was elected! These Constitutional amendments changed those laws.
15th Amendment. This amendment, ratified in 1870, said that no citizen's vote could be taken away because of his race or color or because he was once a slave. In 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, giving slaves their freedom. Nine years later this amendment gave citizens of all races the right to vote. It was a start in giving blacks full equality with whites.
19th Amendment. After this amendment was ratified in 1920, all women in the U.S. were allowed to vote. In 1787, men were always considered head of the household. Only they could vote. But women were becoming better educated. By 1848, they were working together to gain voting rights. Lawmakers were finally convinced 72 years later that women could vote as intelligently as men.
22nd Amendment. This amendment limits a president to two terms in office. George Washington started the presidential tradition of serving for two four-year terms. President Franklin Roosevelt, who was elected four terms in a row, was the first to break with this tradition. Many Americans thought that his four terms had allowed him to become too powerful. This national feeling helped get this amendment ratified in 1951.
26th Amendment. This amendment was passed in 1971, and it gave people 18 to 20 years old the right to vote. The national voting age had been 21. Eighteen-year-olds are old enough to join the U.S. armed forces. Many people think that this makes them old enough to vote for U.S. leaders, too. This amendment had widespread support. It was ratified in only four months.
Why has the Constitution changed?
Here's why, including what might be in store for the future of the Constitution.
You may have heard the U.S. Constitution called "a living document." Though it may seem like a dry piece of paper to you, it really is designed to live and grow as the nation grows.
Even the Founding Fathers knew it might have to change with the times. Article Five of the Constitution spells it out: "The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses [the House and the Senate] shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution . . ." States were also given a chance to propose changes, or amendments. Three-fourths of the states have to approve the amendment for it to become law.
In the past 200 years, the Constitution has been amended 27 times. The 13th Amendment, in 1865, forever banned the practice of slavery. The 15th Amendment, in 1870, gave all citizens the right to vote, regardless of their race.
Americans have added laws only to take them back. In 1919, the 18th Amendment was passed. It banned the making and selling of alcohol. But it was impossible to get all people to stop drinking. Many people felt the government had no right to make laws about their private habits. So in 1933, the 21st Amendment was adopted. It repealed, or canceled, the 18th Amendment.
The nation may need amendments in the future. For example, advances in technology may change the way we communicate. Someday, we may be able to vote from our own homes, hooked into central computers through our TV sets. And what if we are able to live in space? We may need new laws to govern space life.
What kind of laws do you think we will need in the future?
How would you change the Constitution if you could?
Newstime asked that question of people who've worked closely with the Constitution. Here are their responses.
Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1969-86: "It is not perfect, as Franklin said, but the best thing of its kind that was ever put together."
Jimmy Carter, President, 1977-81: "[One of the] changes I would like to see in the Constitution: Elect Presidents for one six- or seven-year term."
Gerald Ford, President, 1974-77: "I would favor repeal of the 22nd Amendment that imposes a two-term limitation on a President's service."
Richard Nixon, President, 1969-74: "I would lengthen the term of members of the House of Representatives from two years to four years. This would give them more time to concentrate on policy instead of politics!"