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200 More Criminals Are Registered To Vote

From Maine’s Portland Press Herald:

“Politics is a way of keeping prisoners connected with society,” said inmate Joseph N. Jackson, 42.

Voter drive registers more than 200 inmates

Party representatives meet with prisoners during the first effort of its kind at the Maine State Prison.

By DENNIS HOEY, Staff Writer May 22, 2008

WARREN — The get-out-the-vote effort in Maine broke new ground Wednesday when more than 200 inmates in the Maine State Prison registered to cast ballots.

Prison officials said it was the first prisoner education and registration drive held at the facility.

Deputy Warden Leida Dardis said the event, which was organized by Maine chapters of the NAACP, allowed representatives from the state Democratic, Republican and Green Independent parties to meet with prisoners in morning and afternoon informational sessions.

Maine and Vermont are the only states that give people convicted of felonies the right to vote while in prison.

Some states bar felons from voting even while on probation or parole; others prevent them from ever voting.

During each election season, Maine prison officials make inmates aware of their voting rights, but Dardis said this was the first time such a concerted registration effort has been made inside the 7-year-old prison.

“Politics is a way of keeping prisoners connected with society,” said one inmate, Joseph N. Jackson, 42, of Lewiston. “The reason that many guys are here is they never felt connected to society in the first place.”

Jackson, who is serving time for manslaughter, is vice president of the prison’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter and a registered Democrat

State Rep. Stephen P. Hanley, D-Gardiner, sponsored a bill that proposed amending the state Constitution to prohibit anyone who is convicted of murder or another Class A or B felony from voting while in prison.

The bill never made it out of committee…

Several inmates, including 25-year-old Sean C. Higgins of Portland, said they had never given politics much thought, or even voted. Higgins said he is serving time for armed robbery and burglary.

“I registered to vote (as a Republican). To be honest, I didn’t even think about it until this morning,” Higgins said.

Patrick Dorney, 28, of Portland said he was convicted of elevated aggravated assault. He said he has never voted.

“I’ve never paid much attention to any of the elections before, but for some reason this year they grabbed my attention,” said Dorney, who registered as a Democrat on Wednesday.

Prisoners can cast absentee ballots in local, state and federal elections, and Dorney promised to bone up on Portland elections. “Portland politics. I really don’t know a lot,” he said.

Robert Salo, 53, of Rockport, said he has served 30 years of a sentence for murder and votes regularly. He said he stays up on current events by reading newspapers each day, along with about a dozen magazines, and watching network and local TV news.

Inmates must buy their own televisions, but are provided access to cable TV channels. Newspapers are available through the prison library.

“I always try to vote the way I would if I were out there (in society).” Salo said.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation.

At least that is what the Democrats, the NAACP (but I repeat myself), the media (again) and the rest of the left hope.

Which should tell you everything you need to know about what the Democrats have planned for us.

“Politics is a way of keeping prisoners connected with society,” said inmate Joseph N. Jackson, 42.

And, if you substitute “criminals” for “prisoners,” vice versa.

Jackson, who is serving time for manslaughter, is vice president of the prison’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter and a registered Democrat.

Now that is a shock.

You have to wonder how many inmates they queried before they found a Republican.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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