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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Part Two - Help Him & Her Get Their Voting Rights Back.....3-H 2VOTE AGAIN

 


The First Step.....from the MNCN....
Minnesota Participation Project: Registering Ex-Felons to Vote.
When a person is convicted of a felony they lose their civil rights. What many people don’t know is that as soon as they complete their sentence, including probation, their civil rights are reinstated. ..theres more to this....

#1. Blog Public Service Announcement - Help Erase That Felony and Vote Again.... Thursday, May 31, 2007

Part 1 - Part One....Off Paper? No, Not Yet? How Many Years Later? Never? Saturday, June 02, 2007

Part 2

3-H Voting Rights Project....be a part of the new democratic revolution, get involved, don't ignore them, they are your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers...they are your clients and customers....Help Him and Her to Vote Again....say 'Yes' to


3-H 2Vote.....

Sounds good, sounds like something I could get on board with. Although I made up this tag line, it could be a fitting tag line for the many local and national organizations that take the initiative to help their fellow citizen to vote again.....taking the system's label of 'ex-felon without civil rights' to someone with 'full citizen rights restored.'

Helping someone to become whole again can mean different things to different people. In this country, how can we have so many different rules applied to an individual with an ex-felony conviction when Civil Rights / Voting Rights are supposed to be recognized and followed across the entire nation?

I will focus on the 2006 election for a moment. It is the most recent voting data, filled with a surge of national ripples of indignant yet thoughtful citizen voter's, who shifted the balance of political power. Wonder what the landscape would like had all the votes been cast and counted? We'll probably never know that because you can't count something that either didn't take place or was erased.

Take a look at ElectionOnline PDF Publication Briefing 2006 Election, A Project of the University of Richmond supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts

Election Reform Briefing 15: The 2006 Election the 15th in a series of policy briefings by electionline.org, found widespread reports of voting system troubles, sporadic incidents of voter intimidation and/or poll worker confusion over voter identification requirements and some breakdowns at polling places because of newly mandated voter registration systems. Released November 2006

When you break it all down, the report summates that there were problems, but not catastrophic ones. I see that the report identifies specific information they could actually track and if one was affected by problems, than that could have an impact on the next time, whether that person takes the initiative to go and vote period.

I was aware of 'voting problem' stories when I went to vote in 2006, New Orleans opened a bay window to how impossible some were trying to make it for the displaced citizens. So when my ballot was spit back out and reinserted by the poll worker, I was concerned. It caused growing doubt about whether my vote actually got through. Though the poll worker assured me all was right, there was nothing wrong with my ballot, the optic scanner just spit it out.

Having a similar thing happen to my daughter a mile away at her polling place was too much of coincidence. So, even though this tiny happenstance occurred, it won't stop me from voting again. If it were to happen again, then I would contact the Secretary of State's office directly.....Thank god Kiffmeyer has been replaced with someone who is democratically honest.

But I, like others who may have had this happen for the very first time, would probably wait to see if it happens again. Maybe it happens to each person who votes a certain way randomly, could be a machine glitch? Couldn't it?

Caging is a form of voter suppression involving registered mail. Typically, campaigns send registered letters to voters who are are unlikely to respond — soldiers serving overseas, for example. A list is compiled of the voters whose mail is returned marked undeliverable, or “caged.” On election day, when people on the caging list arrive to vote, campaign operatives are on hand to float challenges to their residency in the precinct. Palast says caging is a felony. Pensito Review Posted by Jon Ponder Jun. 3, 2007


Rights and Liberties - Democrats Fail in Election Oversight...While the White House emails show top-ranking Republicans wanted federal prosecutors to file voter fraud cases against Democrats, the Judiciary Committee report found much more extensive voter fraud was perpetrated on behalf of Republicans, such as in rural Perry County, where "there appears to be an extraordinarily high level of 91 percent voter registration, yet a substantial number of these voters have never voted and have no signature on file." Of these, 3,100 voters registered on Nov. 8, 1977, a year with no major election. That is what systematic election fraud looks like. By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet. Posted May 29, 2007

Back to the subject at hand.....how to help the disenfranchised ex-felon to be a whole citizen and vote again or for that matter, to vote for the very first time. I may actually be late in starting this topic. If things are going to change for an individual they would need some powerful advocates to help them at the capital. Getting to a person and offering correct information will help some vote by 2008.

Getting to all of the people and helping them to restore their rights fairly, realistically and with dignity, may take an act of Congress. These are the individuals who could be ready to vote in their local elections after 2008, this could be the time each newly restored voter would choose to get involved.



2007 Tell Congress to Restore Federal Voting Rights
States across the country are taking action to expand voting rights to people with felony convictions. Still over 5 million people are disenfranchised and federal voting rules remain inconsistent. Ask your congressperson to support federal voting rights for people with convictions and establish uniformity in federal elections.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or use this sample letter to write your representative.



Of all the issues that adorn each election ballot (some areas hold way too many elections), wouldn't it be wise to have as many people as possible be involved in all aspects of local government, with a voice to vote. Some individuals would rise above the act of just going to vote, some would actually get immerse in the process and maybe, just maybe for the first time in their life, 'they' would enhance their purpose to include proaction for their neighborhood, their community. Remember the guy I wrote a little about...the father, an ex-felon, who became the President of the PTA at his children's school. It was truly an inspiring experience, watching him in action.

"The story of American democracy is often told as the steady expansion of voting but history has not yet caught up with one group—former felons. In the early American political system, the right to vote was reserved for white males over the age of 21 who owned land."


.......remember that No One else was allowed to vote....




Texas Mailing Aims to Intimidate Voters: Project Vote Asks FBI to Investigate
November 07, 2006 - Dallas, TX—A mailing targeting an unknown number of Dallas, TX, voters warns them to resist the urging of a national political group to get and vote and implies jail time for those who do vote. Project Vote has written the Dallas field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation asking them to investigate the apparent violation of federal voting rights laws. A letter with a similar warning was sent to Orange County, CA, Latino voters...national Election Protection hotline—1-866 OUR VOTE.

Well, what if you are a person that wants to vote but is denied that right because you haven't jumped through all of the correct hoops. Some people do believe that if they live their life as quietly as possible, come and go without much noise, they truly believe they won't run the risk of crossing the wrong people.

I'm talking about the ex-felon who did their time and paid the first of several installments of a debt, a debt they owed to society. Everyone deserves another chance. How many other chances I can't say, because that would be throwing one blanket statement over a very individualized situation....like the GOP fear monger did in Part One.

If a citizen has never had the benefit of living in an area where nonprofits are woven into the everyday community fabric, a citizen would never realize that there are practical reasons why you can't throw everyone into prison, keep them there and then forget about them. Anyone coming out of prison though, needs to be informed about their civil rights and then that service provider should provide the tools needed for the individual to use. The tools should include a hand and voice of someone else, waiting in the wings when that person needs them to help with the process.

Minnesota Voters Bill of Rights
8. If you have been convicted of a felony but your felony sentence has expired (been completed) or you have been discharged from your sentence, you have the right to vote.

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Materials developed by Grassroots Solutions and the
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits solely for the Minnesota Participation Project.
Permission is granted to duplicate and distribute only as presented here.

Voters With Special Circumstances

Voter Registration for Ex-Felons

Voter Registration for Victims of Domestic Violence

Voter Registration for Persons Experiencing Homelessness

Vouching for Residents of Residential Facilities




Getting Off Paper....

Registering these voters is extremely important as their circumstances have often left them disenfranchised from the electoral process. The following documents provide information on voter registration for these populations



· Minnesota statute says that a convicted felon loses his or her civil rights, including the right to vote. It also stipulates that a felons civil rights are automatically reinstated when he or she completes their sentence. Completing a sentence means that they have completed all parole, probation, and any other terms of their sentence. This is also known as being “off-paper”. Once a person completes their sentence they have the right to vote. See Minnesota statute 609.165 for more details.



Part 3 to follow soon...
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