Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?
A recent Pilot headline read “Man Charged With Felony Voter Registration Fraud” (Sept. 5).
I expected to read that someone had taken fraudulent documents to the DMV or submitted falsified records to another government agency. Not so.
The crime was that someone had submitted a voter registration application. As a result, they were arrested and released on a $2,000 bond.
Granted, the person was a convicted felon. I understand the reason for felons to be denied the right to legally possess a firearm. But, the right to vote? What threat does that present to society?
Data clearly indicate a disproportionate number of minority felons. I suspect, as well, that the level of education among felons is well below that of the typical citizen.
This situation brings to my mind the Jim Crow laws that were enforced in the majority of American states from the 1880s into the 1960s. This not-so-subtle ploy that prevented African-Americans from voting was abolished in 1965.
This fall, my son and daughter will have their first opportunity to vote in a presidential election. I cannot say with certainty that they will exercise their responsibility in this regard.
Yet, someone who has paid their debt to society risks reincarceration for attempting to participate in his country’s democracy.
Notwithstanding the issue of whether or not felons should have the right to vote, in this instance the punishment does not fit the crime.
Is this to say that crimes of greater magnitude in Moore County have been sufficiently addressed and resolved? Bottom line, there’s something wrong with this picture.
Nancy C. Carter
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