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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Virginia: The Cradle of Civil War II -- or atl least Jim Crow II
Posted by Jill | 5:05 AM
Virgiia Gov. Bob McDonnell, he of Confederate History fame, is fancying himself to be the Alt-Benjamin Linus of the real world -- the final arbiter of whether ex-felons should be allowed to vote based on his evaluation of an essay they will be required to write:
Virginia's slide toward extreme conservative governance under Gov. Bob McDonnell continues.

McDonnell wants to change the process by which non-violent felons apply to have their voting rights restored, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Whereas before, applicants had had to fill out a one-page form, making the process almost automatic, they now will have to submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release.

Advocates for the poor say this will result in far fewer people having their rights restored. Kent Willis, an ACLU official in Virginia called the essay requirement "a nearly insurmountable obstacle'' for people with a limited education. And he added that many felons would be intimidated, reducing the number of applicants.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Janet Polarek, whose office handles the applications, told the Washington Post that the new system "gives all applicants the opportunity to have their cases heard and have their full stories told,"

But the move has provoked an outcry. The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus called the move "a horrific step back towards the era of Jim Crow." One member of the caucus told the Post: "This is designed to suppress the rights of poor people."

Democratic state legislators charged that McDonnell "is returning to a 'blank sheet' voter registration system that in the past disenfranchised many African American voters." The state Democratic Party also condemned the move, though it didn't dare make a moral case on behalf of felons, instead arguing that the new system would "bury the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office in unnecessary paperwork."

About 300,000 felons in the state have served their time, but still do not have the right to vote. Only Virginia and Kentucky make felons apply to the governor to restore their voting rights.

The linked post has an update that just as he did with not mentioning slavery during his declaration of "Confederate History Month", when he backtracked to make an addendum, he's now calling this a "draft policy proposal". It's clear that McDonnell, one of the most blatant representatives of the Republican Confederate Party, is running ideas up the flagpole to see just how much of a return to the pre-Civil Rights era he can get away with in his state.

If we're going to start with bringing back literacy tests, I think we should start with people like these:

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Anonymous mandt said...
Maybe ex-felons could just bring a note from their Mommy.

Anonymous Charlie O said...
Funny. And really, really sad.

Anonymous CC said...
To be fair, not all the signs in the YouTube clip contained spelling errors.