“There is no Democracy for me” a friend told me the other day. And it’s true. The state took away is right to vote- a cornerstone of democracy, because of his heinous drug crime. Which was, to be precise, growing 4 small cannabis plants for his and his wifes personal use. And then they charged them for dealing..because ziploc bags were found (in the kitchen) and a scale was found in his wifes workshop (she is a goldmith/jewler). They also charged him with having a gun in the commission of a crime, because he had two shotguns and a rifle, in a gun safe, unloaded, with trigger locks) a safe covered with stickers from Ducks Unlimited, and surrounded by a large assortment of hunting gear.
Then the prosecutor was kind enough to offer him a plea- they would drop all charges against his wife, if he pled guilty to a sinlge felony charge.
Nationwide, there an estimated 5.3 million americans who have lost their right to vote. An estimated 13% of the black men have lost their right to vote. And while I can’t find numbers at the moment, surely a not insignificant portion of these are non-violent, drug related crimes.
So why do we continue to take peoples right to partake in our democratic system? Is it fear that those who have had the chance to see the lack of justice in the justice system might be inclined to vote to change unjust laws? Is it an attempt to further limit the power blacks, hispanics, and other minorities, including drug users, have in our system?
Slowly- more and more states are reforming these laws- allowing citizens to regain their right to vote after serving out their sentences, or to at least aplly to have these rights returned. But there is still a long way to go.