1. This column is dishonest in suggesting that the reason for the laws now on the books is racial. To the contrary, disenfranchising felons has roots in ancient Greece and Rome, and came to the U.S. from England in the colonial era, when such laws were hardly needed to disenfranchise blacks.__The fundamental reason we do not let felons vote is that we have certain minimum, objective standards of responsibility, trustworthiness and loyalty to our laws that must be met before someone can participate in the sacred enterprise of self-government. So we don’t let children vote or the mentally incompetent or noncitizens — or those who have committed serious crimes against other people. __If you aren’t willing to follow the law yourself, then you can’t demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she has really turned over a new leaf, not automatically on the day someone walks out of prison.

  2. It is inconsistent for the government, on the one hand, to encourage the reintegration of this growing segment of our population, while on the other hand support a lifetime of punishment, ostracism, and second class citizenry. No sentence for any crime explicitly calls for disenfranchisement. This supposed "merit based" consequence has deprived people from what many have considered "inalienable," and the defenses of disenfranchisement sound eerily similar to defenders of the poll tax, the literacy test, and the grandfather clause. Relying upon imagery of those who have committed serious crimes (who are either still incarcerated or have served serious time) is a distraction from the overwhelming number of people who have a criminal history due to something entirely unworthy of the 6 o'clock news. I can't imagine the defenders of such an electoral scheme are overly concerned about ensuring African-Americans are represented in our democracy. Whites are merely collateral damage to the New Grandfather Clause. America remains unique on this issue which does nothing for the reduction of crime yet speaks volumes regarding the commitment to democracy.

  3. Whwn 23% of black can not vote and when many latinos are unable to vote ofcourse its racist . It does not take an idiot to figure this out. FIrst it was our good dam train now they dont want us t vote become painters or have an education if your black with a drug charge you can not go to school but if your white and a child molester you can get the pell grant what up with that go to any ghetto r decent apartment area and asj the people their how many vets ,felons or even single men can rent their .