Opinion

Editor's column: Voters need help from felons to elect legislators

Some of our hard-working state legislators are unfairly coming under fire for trying to make it easier for convicted felons to vote. Thousands are unable to vote even after serving their time, because they haven’t paid their fines. As a result, the collective wisdom of voters is short-changed when it comes to the felon’s perspective.

Our legislators are on the right track in trying to get more convicted felons into the voting pool. Those of us who aren’t felons haven’t been doing a very good job of electing representatives, and most would agree a felon’s perspective would be helpful.

For example, we elected leaders who sent multibillions of dollars to Iraq for construction projects. In a feat of felonious magic, the money disappeared and the construction projects never materialized. The voters are ultimately responsible. We tend to elect friendly folks with nice smiles, because we’re not suspicious enough. In the future, we need more felon-input from people who can spot a con man from a mile away, because he’s been sleeping in the same cell with them for the last 5 to 7 years. Felons will see past the smiles and handshakes and look for someone with a resume’ showing he or she is competent, with a track record of success and honesty in private enterprise. As it stands, those attributes guarantee a second place finish in most congressional races.

Another problem is that most voters have watched their investments depreciate by 40 percent or more since September. If you had $100,000 in your 401K, you now have $60,000. If you owned $100,000 in Washington Mutual shares, you’re busted. Some kind of scam was going on, but us gullible voters aren’t sure who’s to blame. Felons, who don’t look at the world through rose colored glasses, could identify the culprits immediately, even if they are senators or representatives who changed the laws for campaign donations and sweet jobs in retirement.

The housing debacle is another area that prompts us to want to give felons more voting rights. Millions of dimwitted Americans were scammed into mortgages they couldn’t afford, and a small minority profited immensely from the shady enterprise. Felons could ferret out the evil-doers and connect the dots to the gang leaders in the other Washington, because it takes a felon to know a felon. Felons don’t like their money stolen, either, so they might tip the balance for the better in upcoming elections.

Our legislators are correct that we need more felons in the voting booths. However, they should realize that this is one move that might come back to bite them.

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