Monday, December 12, 2005

How to Make an Ex-Felon Mad

I tell you, the best way to get people to care about something is to try and take it away from them.

Take the Anti-Voting Rights Bill (otherwise known by its nom de guerre PA House Bill 1318). Across the state, we've seen ex-offenders engaging in the issue of voting rights, meeting with their representatives, producing and distributing flyers, holding press conferences...all because they are pissed off about HB 1318 trying to shut them out of the political process.

In Pittsburgh, an elderly gentleman named House has stepped up to lead the fight. Now active in a violence prevention program, House is serving life on parole for a crime committed in his youth. If the Anti-Voting Rights Bill is passed, he will never be able to vote again.

House is mad as hell. He's made a personal commitment to keeping Rendell from getting re-elected if the governor signs this bill into law. House spends hours every week getting the word out to ex-offenders that they have a right to vote, and that politicians are trying to take that right away.

So, who knows? The Flying Spaghetti Monster works in mysterious ways. Maybe the Anti-Voting Rights Bill will actually end up increasing ex-offender participation in the next election.

Unless, of course, it gets passed. That would rain on our parade.

So stay tuned--the State Senate Government Committee is scheduled to take up HB 1318 tomorrow.

Lisa in Pittsburgh


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I faxed my reps about this bill last month, and last week I got an honest-to-God not-a-form-letter from my representative answering every point in my letter (and agreeing with me--even better.) Was refreshing not to get a "thank you" brush off for once!

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Convicted felons should not have the right to vote if they are in prison; 2) if they have been released, they should have the right to vote provided they vote they way that I want them to vote -- not really a problem because former criminals are not tuned into the democratic process... with the exception of a few screamers and hollerers; 3) for the whole truth about everything, see the web site at

1:55 PM  

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