More substantive blogging later, but it’s always instructive to open up the Denver Post and read that the Democrats’ idea of cleaning up elections is giving paroled felons the right to vote. Of course, the Post article omits mention of a basic fact in the Senate Bill 83 debate. You have to read the Rocky Mountain News to learn that Democrats defeated an amendment requiring proof of citizenship to vote.
Not that any of us should be surprised by these revelations.
On the point of paroled felons, the Rocky reports:
But Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, had a different view. Groff, who amended the bill to allow parolees to vote, argued that state law bans anyone confined behind bars from voting.
“When you look at moving people from prison to society, the more things you can make them responsible for, the less likely they’ll go back in prison,” he said.
With all due respect, our public elections should not be part of a rehabilitation program. I think Senator Josh Penry (R – Fruita) put it best in this Colorado Senate News article:
After the debate, Penry added, â€œVoting is a cherished right, not therapy for convicts. If we want them to be given more responsibility, buy them a dog.â€
It is clear that the two major parties representing us in Denver have distinctly different views about the sanctity of voting rights and the integrity of elections. Thankfully, the Republicans are there to remind us that the warmest and kindest of intentions do not always make good public policy.
As for the Democrats, the voting rights scorecard is pretty clear. Paroled felons? Yes. Proof of citizenship? No. After last November’s election day debacles in Denver and Douglas County, the citizens of the state are looking for a reasonable solution. Instead the Democrats are working to give us Senate Bill 83, a poison pill dressed up as honest election reform.