Del. Pat McDonough was so offended by HB 980, which “would give ex-offenders, including felons, the right to vote upon their release,” that he retaliated by introducing a disingenuous amendment that would install voting machines in prisons before the upcoming election.
According to Maryland Reporter, McDonough floated the amendment to raise a stink about what he’s calling “the year of the criminal.”
“We voted to support convicted felons, after they completed their sentence, that they could vote,” he said. “Then the trend continued, and we voted that now, they can vote when their sentence is not completed.”
He figures before long, Maryland’s prisoners will be able to vote while incarcerated. Hence, installing the machines in prisons.
If I were there, I might have voted for his amendment. I don’t see where disenfranchising convicts helps them or us.
In fact, there was study published in Social Science Quarterly in 2009 demonstrating that the disenfranchisement of felons negatively affects the participation by non-felons and “can undermine the mechanism of political socialization, leading to potentially greater biases in the electoral arena than previously thought.”