I haven't always been that impressed with Chap Petersen. He's an expert campaigner but, frankly, a pretty mediocre senator who seems content to sit on the backbenches. But on Facebook today, Chap put up a link announced he is sponsoring a bill to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their term.
I hope Republicans engage in this debate and give it serious consideration. For a long time our politicians who have run and run hard on law and order, ticking off the number of people who we have thrown in jail, without ever thinking twice to what becomes of them. In fact, the stories of what happens to ex-felons is something society in general wants to ignore because it would be too shameful to see how the system is set up against them.
Good for Chap (as well as Greg Habeeb, who appears to be sponsoring similar legislation in the House of Ds), we all need to think about what it means to complete a prison sentence. The point of being punished is that eventually it ends. As it stands now, when someone is punished for a crime they are marked for life. It is important that we know about criminals in hiring and firing and public safety, especially for certain crimes, but we need to make sure that we save the ones we can.
Restoring voting rights is an important frist step to make sure ex-felons are brought back into society. Voting and political participation is an important first step to make sure these folks are brought back into society and remained rehabilitated. Unfortunately, there are still too many Republicans out there who are "law and order" and are unwilling to think harder and deeper about this issue. I hope this debate will help them think more about it.