Holder Urges States to Repeal Bans on Felons’ Voting

Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, February 11, 2014

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday urged states to repeal laws that prohibit felons from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to millions of people.

The call was mostly symbolic—Mr. Holder has no authority to enact these changes himself—but it marked the attorney general’s latest effort to eliminate laws that he says disproportionately keep minorities from the polls. “It is unwise, it is unjust, and it is not in keeping with our democratic values,” Mr. Holder said at civil rights conference at Georgetown University. “These laws deserve to be not only reconsidered, but repealed.”

African-Americans represent more than a third of the estimated 5.8 million people who are prohibited from voting, according to the Sentencing Project, a research group that favors more liberal sentencing policies. And in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, more than one in five African-Americans has lost the right to vote.

The United States is unique in the democratic world for barring people from voting in such large numbers. Mr. Holder said the laws stemmed from the late 1800s, when states tried keep blacks from voting.

“Although well over a century has passed since post-Reconstruction states used these measures to strip African-Americans of their most fundamental rights, the impact of felony disenfranchisement on modern communities of color remains both disproportionate and unacceptable,” he said.

Nearly every state prohibits inmates from voting while in prison. In four of them—Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia—felons are barred from the polls for life unless they receive clemency from the governor. The rest of the country’s laws vary. Some state restore voting rights after a prison sentence is complete. Others require a waiting period. Some have complicated processes for felons to re-register to vote.


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  • sbuffalonative

    African-Americans represent more than a third of the estimated 5.8
    million people who are prohibited from voting, according to the
    Sentencing Project, a research group that favors more liberal sentencing
    policies. And in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, more than one in five
    African-Americans has lost the right to vote.

    It’s a scary prospect. Criminals determining elections.

    • dd121

      I think they’re already determining a lot of outcomes.

  • Massif1

    Allow black felons to vote and the entire country becomes Baltimore. Just say NO.

  • Daniel Schmuhl

    Voting should be restricted to land-owning males without a criminal background, but unfortunately i don’t think doing that would be possible.

    • Which means that subprime mortgage holding ghetto Rastus gets to vote but white woman with a very good six figure job being a lawyer for a SV tech firm paying $10,000 a month rent in San Francisco doesn’t get to vote.

      Race, not land owning status.

      • Daniel Schmuhl

        Alright fine, they have to be debt-free too.
        The racial bit is even more unrealistic, no multi-ethnic state these days would embrace that. Then you might say we shouldn’t have a multi-ethnic state and I’d agree but getting there via democratic means is extremely unlikely.

        • Einsatzgrenadier

          When it comes to the future of America, the bottom line must always be race, not IQ, not property, not sex, not work history or anything else. Until whites take pride in their race, we are lost. Race is the only thing that matters.

        • Who Me?

          Debt free? Many people have mortgages, and many others have car payments too. Are you implying those people should not vote? That’s getting a little too restrictive. Aside from the ne-er do wells that caused the sub prime crises, home owners (mortgage holders) are the most stable section of the middle class. Home ownership is a 20-30 year debt, not easily paid in full till middle age.

      • Lewis33

        Do we really want female lawyers living in SF to vote? Or any females for that matter…

        • blight14


      • bilderbuster

        If they live in San Francisco they both sound like Jerry Brown/Diane Feinstein voters to me.

    • 1stworlder

      It would be better than only people who pay more in taxes than they get from the government(except for soldiers) can vote.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    I wonder…if Whites made up the majority of the prison pop…

    Eh, forget it. We already know what herr Holder’s up to. We’re such cowards.

  • MekongDelta69

    Next to NoBama, Eric Hold ‘Em Up from the Department of Injustice (against straight White males), is THE MOST dangerous person in this country.

  • Jesse James

    Just another clear sign that BRA is our enemy in all things. We don’t share a common morality or sense of justice.

  • Lewis33

    “And in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, more than one in five African-Americans has lost the right to vote.”

    If you assume that, what 75-85% of these are males, how much of the black male population of these states are felonious?

  • I am tempted to call him Eric the Red, but it’s more like Eric the Blue (State).

    Notice that of the four states that totally prohibit felons voting, three of them are relatively swing states in Presidential politics. You don’t think Eric the Blue has any partisan motivations here, do you?

    I think the Missouri model, which is what many states have, that felons can vote when they’re out of prison and off papers, is the most fair. It gives the promise of voting rights back to ex-cons, it shuts the left up, and it also gives interested ex-cons something to look forward to in order to comply with their probation and to get away from the crime game. Conveniently for us, black ex-cons are the ones that have the hardest time getting off papers.

    But then there’s another factor — Does any of this matter? Our voter registration and voting eligibility enforcement mechanisms are so weak, (and Democrats move hell and Earth to prevent them from being enforced or strengthened), that I bet a lot of felons are registered to vote in states and situations where they legally cannot. Just as I think there are lots of illegal aliens registered to vote.

    And there’s another factor on top of that — I think Holder knows that the newly enfranchised felons that would come about if he gets his way won’t actually vote in very large numbers, that is, vote on their own volition. They’ll get registered to vote even if they don’t want to be registered, because there will be dozens of opportunities in the course of their lives when someone will ask them if they want to register to vote and all they’ll have to do is agree. And once they’re on the rolls, it’s easy as pie for some corrupt black poll worker to cast a vote in their stead for Obama or some other Democrat, even if the person doesn’t come into vote on election day. Swelling voter registration rolls and keeping them fat is the keystone to voter fraud.

  • bigone4u

    Eric “My People” Holder says, “States rights? Never heard of em. For my people everything, for Whites, well, you pay the price.”

  • Spartacus

    “The call was mostly symbolic—Mr. Holder has no authority to enact these changes himself…”


    Why are they speaking about him like he gives a damn about the law ?

    • SFLBIB

      “Why are they speaking about him like he gives a damn about the law ?”

      This is obviously a trial balloon. If not stopped when it first rears its ugly head, it will spread until one day we wake up and find ourselves with no laws because the felons, by joining the Democrat liberal lobby, eliminated them.

  • Luca

    Felons are anti-social. As such, they should not be allowed to participate freely in normal society. They have lost those privileges.

    Unless they can pay back all the costs of their legal defense and incarceration within 10 years, they should be irrevocably deported. If they have to wash dishes and sweep floors, so be it.

    • I wouldn’t pay anything.

    • bilderbuster

      In the old days serving your sentence was considered paying your debt to society.

      • I did have to pay $400 in court costs, though I was not fined.

        • bilderbuster

          Our taxes are supposed to pay for the court costs LOL!
          I read that back in the day Montana gave the prisoner a rifle & a horse upon release. I forget where I read it & can’t vouch for it’s truthfulness.

  • IstvanIN

    Mr. Holder said the laws stemmed from the late 1800s, when states tried keep blacks from voting.

    No, Eric, blacks keep blacks from voting.

  • NotTooSwift

    “Mr. Holder said the laws stemmed from the late 1800s, when states tried keep blacks from voting”.

    You mean to say that blacks were doing this s**t a hundred years ago? I thought they just started criminal behavior in the 1960’s. Well, I’ll be darned!

    • Holder is a genuine sick puppy.
      He believes all things conspire to keep blacks down, while ignoring his own lofty station.

      If he could only relocate to Haiti, embrace his kulcha and evade White oppressors.

      • sbuffalonative

        Yes, Mr. Holder apparently is plugged into the black community. He always seems to be pushing issues white, middle-Americans don’t give a passing thought to. But they are on the front burner for blacks and their call for ‘justice’.

      • Who Me?

        I would like someone to “relocate” him 6 feet under in a pine box.

        • bilderbuster

          He doesn’t deserve a box.

    • Originally, a felony was any crime for which one could have been executed but was not. Voting was obviously thus an irrelevant issue.

      • “Felon” comes from the French word of the same spelling meaning “evil person.”

        A fairly convenient legal shorthand about criminal law classifications that a felony is an evil act, a misdemeanor is a wrong act and an infraction is a mistake.

        It is patently obvious that way too many crimes classified as felonies are not fundamentally evil acts, but they are worse than just plain wrong. I think there should be a classification in between felony and misdemeanor.

  • Xerxes22

    Felons rarely vote. What Holder and his ilk want is to put the names of felons on the lists of registered voters so that they can vote for them. Just more voter fraud.

    • sbuffalonative

      They may rarely vote but they are a ready pool of voters to mobilize during a tight race; and they will vote for who they are told to vote for.

  • disc12

    If we had any justice, he would be proposing this to preserve his own voting rights once the next administration takes office.

  • Felons can vote once they have finished probation or parole, except in Florida and Kentucky.

    • IstvanIN

      But one has to stop being a felon completely. Blacks go from felony to felony, or from parole violation to parole violation, never getting over the initial felony.

      • We call this “life on the installment plan”.

        I’ve been home over ten years and off paper for more than seven. My voting rights came back once I was off supervision; all I had to do was re-register at the DMV office.

        • Michael Whalen

          Are you allowed to posses firearms?

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Felons can vote via absentee ballot while they are in prison in Maine and Vermont.

  • John K

    Well, you know, because we need more Democrats in office. While we’re at it, let’s let them carry firearms, too, because it’s easier to rape white women at gunpoint.

    This is just as stupid as letting welfare rats vote and breed. America is doomed. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’.


      The “when is already underway, and Eric Holder is a product of it.

  • JohnEngelman

    Ex cons are likely to vote for fewer, briefer, milder prison sentences.

    • sbuffalonative

      That’s the reason I’ve always believed they shouldn’t have the right to vote.

      Just imagine a black man running for sheriff in a community and suggesting that he’s not going to enforce certain laws in certain communities.

      Do we really want criminals voting for people who won’t arrest criminals?

    • I’m an ex-con, and I’ve never seen sentence reduction as a state ballot measure, so I haven’t had the opportunity to vote on those. If I was going to complain about someone’s sentence, I would gripe about what was done with my old TSA agent housesitter.

      During the three years I was locked up, he mercilessly stole from me. I won a small claims court judgement against him, and his response was to file a false police report against me. He finally got popped for molesting children, and pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault on a child and one count of indecent exposure. He got a deferral and was able to keep his TSA job for an entire year afterward. He finally violated by being caught with two handguns, $9000 worth of meth and $500 in cash. Now he’s seven years into a three-to-life sentence at Canon City. The court here really needed to have Mr. Rowe on reporting probation with random drug tests, random home visits, and probably a head-shrinker. I honestly think they set him up to fail because he simply didn’t have the willpower to straighten himself out on his own. Now his sentence termination date is December 31, 8888. He can’t MRD it unless he figures out a way to live to be 6913.

      I can’t imagine doing an indefinite sentence. I’d hang myself. On the other hand, the guy is a dirt-bag and I have still not yet received one word of apology from him or a dime of my money back. If he did, I would write a nice letter to the parole board saying the guy is finally showing some responsibility and ask that they do let him out on parole.

      The point to incarceration is to protect society from criminals, but also to convince malefactors to cut it out. My career is ruined, but I didn’t really want to work anymore, anyway. I’m happy home-schooling my daughter and tying fishing flies and working on cars and trucks. I recently turned out a nice set of deep-diving plug lures I machined in three sizes out of aluminum: 85mm (2), 65mm (2) and 45mm (4). I painted five, but one in each size got a coat of brass-colored paint with iridescent fish-scale decals I printed here using my computer printer and blank decal stock. I covered them with a few coats of varnish to protect the decals. They’re beautiful, and I certainly wasn’t hurting anyone while I was making them. I think bass will hit them, but I’ll try the painted ones first.

      The only person outside my family I have even talked with in three or four weeks is a nice neighbor lady with whom I had tea a few nights ago. Her cat is normally terrified of men, but likes me and sat on my lap. The running joke is that cats like me because they can tell I am allergic to them. Not all criminals are cut from the same cloth.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Holder is planning ahead for himself and obama after they leave office.

    And why shouldn’t felons vote? They’re already voting now and allowed to serve in the administration.

    Any resistance and obama will use his pen and phone to make sure felonies are no longer felonies.

    in states like Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, as many as one in five black adults have been stripped of voting rights.

    “in 2007, then Gov. Charles Crist, a Republican, with the support of the previous governor, Jeb Bush, moved to automatically restore voting rights to a felon once their sentence was served.”


  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Even a cursory reading of this story shows that all Holder’s concerned about is what’s good for blacks (felons in this case) rather than what’s good for the country. Unfortunately, most whites are too cowardly to point his out.

  • negrolocaust

    Sarah Wolfe recently signed up to volunteer with the Animal Friends
    shelter in Pittsburgh. She completed volunteer orientation on Jan. 25
    and a cat handling class Feb. 1, according to spokeswoman Christina

    Sarah Wolfe, a triple board certified psychiatrist at Western
    Psychiatric Institute & Clinic and an assistant professor at the
    University of Pittsburgh, moved to Pittsburgh after she earned her
    medical degree from the University of Iowa in 2007.

    Sarah Wolfe stayed in touch daily with family members, who remembered
    “the rare combination of her warmth and generosity and her extensive
    knowledge of medical research.”

    Sarah Wolfe: beaten, raped, shot in the head by a black thursday. right in front of her sister who was also killed. i bet you did not even hear it…

    • Anglo

      I never heard a word about that. Thank you for letting us know about Sarah and her sister.

    • bilderbuster

      I heard about it but the article I read only said they had been found shot execution style. What I read said they were related to an Iowa state rep. or sen. & Iowa had some gun legislation vote coming up soon.
      No mention of rape or capture of the murderer.
      Just that they had been found.

  • Truthseeker

    If you’re worried about losing the right to vote, maybe you should’ve thought of that before you committed the felony.

    • Most of them don’t think. My old housesitter certainly wasn’t thinking. This is what he looks like, seven years into what will very likely be a life sentence for molesting kids. Before he started using drugs, he was trustworthy, funny and even looked better. I miss the old Mr. Rowe, and not the “New & Improved” version.

  • Brian

    it marked the attorney general’s latest effort to eliminate laws that he says disproportionately keep minorities from the polls.
    The fact that (non-asian) minorities disproportionately break the law is what keeps them from voting.

  • Who Me?

    Why, WHY is Eric Holder still Attorney General of the United States? WHY was he EVER Attorney General? I know he was appointed by the president, but isn’t there some sort of process by which we the people can prevent or remove such appointees from office as are found unfit for the job?
    Contrary to Mr Holder’s belief, the felon voting laws were NOT put in place solely to prevent black men from voting, that was just a side benefit. The laws were enacted for the good of the nation, in that people who commit felonies have forfeited the right to vote until such time as they have proven themselves capable of acting like contributing members of society.
    It is true that most black felons, (and many White ones, too) NEVER become functioning, contributing members of society after serving part or all of a prison sentence. That is a very good reason for NOT letting them vote. If they can’t manage their own lives, what makes them capable of choosing the proper leaders for the whole nation? Do we really want murderers, rapists and thieves deciding who represents us in congress?
    There are a good many people who are not convicted felons who shouldn’t have the right to vote, either, but that is not the point under discussion here.
    If a person has served their sentence, met their parole obligations, got a job, kept their nose clean, and lived a decent, law-abiding life for a period of some years, (say 5 years) then I think they will have met the burden of proof and they should be allowed to vote again, providing they meet all other eligibility conditions.
    NO ONE on welfare, section 8, food stamps should be allowed to vote–again, they can’t manage their own lives, they should not be involved in choosing who manages the country.


    “Mr. Holder said the laws stemmed from the late 1800s, when states tried keep blacks from voting.”

    Oh, yeah? What was the black felony rate in the late 1800s?

    Some of the counter-demonstrators at abortion clinics are homosexuals. One might ask why homosexuals need abortion. They don’t, of course, but they are part of a large coalition that includes the pro-abortion lobby and who knows who else. This is how a very small minority got its behavior not only legitimized but revered.

    If felons are allowed to vote, we can look for more of the same, and the last thing we want is for them to be able to influence legislation. An example of this is NAMBLA agitating to lower the age for consensual sex.

    • “If” felons are allowed to vote? We already are in 46 states. I very much doubt I am any less responsible with this right than you are. That said, I completely support the ex-offenders being forced to wait until they are off supervision before they can vote. I waited, and it didn’t hurt me any. The idea that blacks should be permitted to vote is repugnant to me, whether or not they are criminals. I don’t think they’re really people.

  • MooTieFighter

    How can anyone in their right mind think this man has any care about the well being of America, with an ideology like this?

  • bilderbuster

    He was one of the “masterminds” behind Waco.

    • Katherine McChesney

      Along with Hillary and Janet Reno.

      • bilderbuster

        Let’s not forget the psycho who made it all possible: William Jefferson Blythe Clinton!

  • A Freespeechzone

    Remember this is the black SOB that wants to take your guns; especially if you’re White.

    Meanwhile, little is done to disarm murderous black gangs or felons–he wants them rewarded.