People convicted of felonies should not forever lose their right to vote, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.
In remarks prepared for delivery at a criminal justice conference Tuesday, Holder takes aim at state laws which strip voting rights from those convicted of serious crimes.
“It is time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision,” Holder is to tell the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights Criminal Justice Forum at Georgetown law school. “These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive. By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.”
Holder also plans to note that felon-disenfranchisement laws ban almost one in 13 African Americans from voting and, in states like Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, as many as one in five black adults have been stripped of voting rights. The attorney general argues that these measures are relics of a bygone era.
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