Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

Felons Can’t Vote…Unless they are IN the Senate?!

(cross-posted on


Wow, what a night.  I know everyone is going to be writing about Obama and the incredible races and probably has more energy and insight than I at this moment.  But something struck me about the Alaska Senate race last night that seemed odd, and I haven’t heard it addressed. 



I don’t have a lot of commentary, but here’s my realization.  Stevens couldn’t vote for himself for Senate because he is a felon, but he will be able to vote IN the Senate as a felon.  Something is amiss when we say people are not qualified to choose their elected representatives because they are felons but are qualified to BE those elected representatives AS felons. 


Something to ponder…



I’ve got to say that the results also speak to the expectations Alaskans have for their representatives in government that they would elect someone to represent them who will be serving what could very well amount to a life sentence in jail.  Senators must be physically present to have their votes counted.  So they just chose to have one of their two Senate votes not count for the next six years (assuming Stevens serves-out/lives-out his term).



Oh well.  I think it is worth thinking about the larger question about who we allow to vote (in the election and our governing bodies).  But mostly now is a time to look to the future and start planning how Democrats are going to deal with the mess we have inherited.  I pray we have the sense to realize this was much less a mandate for us than a referendum against Bush and the politics of pandering to one’s base instead of speaking to the broader needs of the people.  We need to get to the business of real governing and moving legislation that has broad appeal. 


If anyone can bring this country together though, it’ll be Obama.  Time to pray extra hard for our leaders!!

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posted November 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

What is wrong with Alaska? Now they have lost one half of their voice in the Senate. Unless of course, Ted Stevens steps down and lets Palin appoint his replacement. Knowing how he is, I doubt that he would be man enough to do that.

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posted November 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm

From what I have read, Ted Stevens in fact was able to vote for himself. They held a special review of his case in Alaska and decided to allow him to vote–even though other convicted felons in Alaska and elsewhere–even ones on parole or probation were not allowed. This is truly ridiculous. Given that this disproportionately affects young, African American males in this country who are disproportionately tried and convicted for non-violent drug crimes it is particular onerous. Having connections matters apparently…just a wee bit. Throw this old dude in jail…NOW!!

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