Virginia Amendment Would Allow Inmates To Vote, Potentially Roiling Politics In Counties With Prisons

The Daily Caller | 1/5/2020 | Staff
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Virginia Democrats Mamie E. Locke and Kaye Kory will introduce a measure Jan. 8 that would allow prisoners to vote from jail in the state.

The bill appears to allow prisoners to vote in the jurisdiction of the jail, potentially making inmates a powerful voting bloc in sparsely populated communities.

Bills - Democrats - Control - Virginia - Legislature

It is one of numerous radical bills that could be passed rapidly after the Democrats take control of Virginia’s legislature for the first time in years.

Democratic lawmakers in Virginia, who recently won control of the state’s legislature, proposed altering the state’s constitution to allow prisoners and mentally handicapped individuals to vote.

Debate - Felons - Time

The national debate previously focused on whether felons should be able to vote after they serve their time.

Only two other states allow inmates to vote. But unlike in Maine and Vermont, the language of the Virginia proposal suggests inmates could vote as residents of the jurisdiction where the prison is.

Virginia - State - Prisons - Areas - Inmate

Virginia’s largest state prisons are in sparsely populated areas where the inmate population could exert significant influence on local government.

A former Republican member of the Virginia Board of Elections, Clara Belle Wheeler, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that could lead to the inmates running the asylum.

Prison - Population - Nothing - Betterment - Locality

“It’s completely unreasonable to think it’s fair or equitable that a prison population that contributes nothing to the betterment of the locality would be allowed to vote on local issues, such as commonwealth attorneys,” she said.

In some states, felons register as Democrats more than six times as often as Republicans, a 2013 academic study published in the American Academy of Political and Social Science found. It also cited another study that found 73% of voters who turn out for presidential elections vote Democrat.

Bill - Wheeler

“They know that. That’s exactly why that bill’s there,” Wheeler said.

Senate Joint Resolution 8, which is slated to be offered Jan. 8, would “Amend Section...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Caller
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