States restore voting rights for ex-cons

Felony disenfranchisement — often a holdover from exclusionary Jim Crow-era laws like poll taxes and ballot box literacy tests — affects about 5.3 million former and current felons in the United States, according to voting rights groups. But voter registration and advocacy groups say that recent overhauls of these Reconstruction-era laws have loosened enough in some states to make it worth the time to lobby statehouses for more liberal voting restoration processes, and to try to track down former felons in indigent neighborhoods.

“You’re talking about incredible numbers of people out there who now may have had their right to vote restored and don’t even know it,” said Reggie Mitchell, a former voter-registration worker for People for the American Way.

That New York Times story warmed my heart today. Denying anyone the franchise churns my stomach.

But I’m surprised (no, flabbergasted) that the über law and order types have not gunned this effort down.