Vote NO on ALL Six North Carolina Constitutional Amendments

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Image: NC Policy Watch

The NC General Assembly’s chicanery should not be rewarded.

You can’t separate the six proposed constitutional amendments from how they were devised. The Republicans rushed these amendments through at the last minute, without debate, discussion, or even an implementing statute, which means they’ll get to decide later—in a lame-duck session—what these amendments really do, after you’ve already voted on them. The proper response to this chicanery: Vote no on all six.

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New poll shows just how little North Carolinians know about what they’ll be voting on

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If North Carolinians are even aware that they’ll have the chance to vote on changes to the state constitution this November, there’s a good chance they’ll still be confused about what they’re being asked to approve.

A new poll from Elon University asked registered voters around the state about the six proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this year. The result: Most people don’t know much about the amendments, and in some cases people think the amendments would have the opposite effect of what they would really do.

“It seems to me that a lot of voters are going to be making a permanent decision that could impact North Carolina for decades to come, based on pretty limited information,” said Jason Husser, the director of the Elon Poll.

While a small majority of the voters polled did know that there will be constitutional amendments on the ballot this November, almost none claimed to know “a lot” about what the amendments will do if they pass.

Although 89 percent said they plan to vote in November, just 56 percent knew there will be amendments on the ballot — and only 8 percent said they’ve heard a lot about what the amendments would do.

John Dinan, a Wake Forest University political professor who is an expert on state-level constitutional amendments, said the results aren’t surprising.

“It’s normal for there to be a lot of undecided voters, at least at the beginning of the campaign,” he said. “That means there’s also a lot of opportunities to educate voters.”

Voters go to the polls on Nov. 6.

Amendments on the ballot

For those who would like more information, here’s a brief recap of the six amendments:

Voter ID: Create a requirement to show a photo ID to vote. The exact details are a mystery, however, since the General Assembly has not yet written the actual law that would be enacted if this amendment passes. North Carolina’s last attempt to create a voter ID law was ruled unconstitutional in 2016.

Income tax cap: The state’s current income tax rate is 5.499 percent, and that won’t change no matter what happens with this amendment. Instead, the amendment would lower the maximum possible rate that state income taxes could be raised to in the future, from 10 percent to 7 percent.

Changes to elections board: The board has four Democrats, four Republicans and one politically unaffiliated person. This amendment would remove the ninth — and potentially tiebreaking — vote and leave the board equally split with eight members. It would also transfer power to pick board members from the governor to the legislature.

Changes to judicial appointments: When judges die, quit or retire, the governor appoints a new person to take over until the next election. This amendment would take that power away. In some cases it would be up to the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and in other cases the amendment would require the governor to select an appointee from a list provided by the state legislature.

Hunting and fishing: This amendment is broadly worded to re-affirm the rights of people to hunt and fish. It’s not entirely clear if it would make any actual changes to North Carolina law.

Marsy’s Law: This amendment would give additional rights to crime victims and is part of a national push to do so.

All six amendments were written by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, and the North Carolina GOP is asking people to vote in favor of all six. Meanwhile, the N.C. Democratic Party is asking people to vote against all six.

Dinan, however, said it’s possible that in November voters will approve some and deny others. While North Carolina does not have a history of frequently amending its constitution, he said, there are lessons to be learned from other states that do.

“Voters have been known to make distinctions,” he said. “We have states that have six amendments on the ballot on a regular basis, and voters will say ‘Yes’ to these four and ‘No’ to these two.”

For North Carolina Democrats in 2018, some amendments are more controversial than others.

No one challenged the hunting amendment or the victims’ rights amendment in court, and in the General Assembly both passed with support from Democrats as well as Republicans.

On the other hand, the amendments changing the board of elections and judicial appointments amendments drew a lawsuit from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. And the amendments about voter ID and the income tax cap drew a lawsuit from the NAACP and environmental groups. However, both Cooper and the NAACP were handed losses on Tuesday by the N.C. Supreme Court.

By Will Doran/nando
Posted by The NON-Conformist

Georgia Kills Racist Plan to Eliminate Polling Places in Black County Amid Backlash Voters and civil rights advocates in Randolph County, Georgia stood up to a blatant voter suppression scheme, and won.

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Officials in Randolph County, Georgia have scrapped a plan to close 7 of the county’s 9 polling places, amid local anger, a massive petition drive, nationwide scrutiny, and threats from the Georgia ACLU to file suit. The local election board meeting to vote down the proposal lasted less than 60 seconds.

As an added bonus, county elections consultant Mike Malone, who first proposed the closures, has been fired.

Randolph County is 61 percent African-American, and one of the polling sites proposed for closure served an area that was 97 percent black. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of residents do not own a car. Had the closures been approved, thousands of minority voters might have had to walk for up to 3 hours to get to their polling place.

Election overseers had claimed the closures were because the polling places were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But a public records request revealed that the county did not have a single piece of data to back up its claim that the affected sites were causing any problems for disabled people.

Black voters and civil rights groups have a darker theory for the reason behind the proposal: that it was an underhanded ploy to undermine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is running in a competitive, high-profile race to be the first African-American woman governor in history.

Abrams’ Republican opponent is Brian Kemp, who also happens to be the chief elections official in Georgia — and according to the Washington Post, Kemp was the one who included Malone on a list of recommended consultants for local election boards. Malone has also financially supported Kemp’s campaign, and said at a meeting discussing the proposal that Kemp had urged him to find ways to consolidate polling places, although he later retracted this statement.

Kemp, for his part, denies any involvement in the proposed polling closures or in recommending Malone as a consultant for Randolph County, and claims that he opposed the closures from the start. But this was not an isolated or unique incident — Republicans have been aggressively curtailing hundreds of polling places for years, spurred along by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to throw out a key portion of the Voting Rights Act.

The defeat of the Randolph County closures plan is an important victory for voting rights, and a key case of how activist pressure is able to undo some of the GOP’s ugliest schemes to suppress black voters. It follows last month’s voting rights victories in Indiana, where a lawsuit by Common Cause and the NAACP resulted in a consent decree  ordering Republicans to allow multiple early voting sites in heavily urban Marion County for the first time in ten years; and in Florida, where a federal judge struck down a law prohibiting early voting sites on college campuses.

By Matthew Chapman / AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

NC Amendment would put voter ID in NC constitution

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Our dear General Assembly leaders(see below) here in North Carolina haven’t given up on voter ID, they recently filed a proposed constitutional amendment to ensconce a voter ID rule in the state constitution…Libergirl.

 

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, left, and House Speaker Tim Moore during a May15, 2018, news conference.

Image: WRAL.com

The bill would ask voters to decide this November whether to add this paragraph to the constitution: “Photo identification for voting in person. Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

Republicans have championed photo IDs as the best defense against voter fraud, but Meredith College political science professor David McLennan said instances of in-person voter fraud are “very minimal.”

“It is not a widespread issue, despite what politicians say,” McLennan said.

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Breaking My Silence on RussiaGate

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We are facing a precarious historic moment. Democracy is threatened by interference in our elections, and by interference in our civil liberties. Likewise we are endangered by warmongering, rampant militarism, nuclear confrontation and accelerating climate change. To solve any of these interlinked problems, we need a functioning democracy and a voting system we can have confidence in.
As first steps to restore trust in that system, we are calling for a nonpartisan Emergency Commission for Election Protection & Voting Justice, as well as international negotiations for an election non-interference treaty. These should be stepping stones toward broader international dialogue to address other urgent looming threats that endanger not only our democracy, but our very survival.
Handing Over Materials to Senate Committee
Today, cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, our campaign has completed the handover of materials in response to the Committee’s request. The information provided includes documents regarding my 2015 visit to Russia to speak at RT‘s 10th anniversary conference on media and international relations, an extension of my trip to the UN climate conference in Paris, where I also spoke with international leaders and activists. The materials include records of the campaign’s payment for my trip to Russia as well as longstanding Green Party policy objectives of promoting dialogue and diplomacy as essential alternatives to war, nuclear confrontation and climate catastrophe.
Interference in Our – or Any Country’s – Elections Is a Blow Against Democracy.
We take very seriously the issue of interference in our elections, as demonstrated by our continuing efforts to conduct the first and, according to public information, the only 2016 post-election examination of vulnerable US voting machines, a critical cross check on election security that should be routine.
Interference in our – or any country’s – elections is a strike against democracy – whether the intruder is a foreign government, criminal network or domestic actor.
While Pursuing Concerns About Foreign Interference, We Should Not Ignore Domestic Interference in Plain Sight
Concerns about foreign interference should not distract us from interference in plain sight originating from within our own borders. That includes the actions of the Democratic National Committee, which biased its party’s own primaries, effectively disenfranchising millions of Bernie Sanders’ voters; corporate media that gave Donald Trump billions in extra free airtime because he was “damn good” for network profits, in the words of CBS’ CEO; or voter suppression schemes like voter ID laws, Interstate Crosscheck and felon disenfranchisement that systematically deny millions of Americans their constitutional right to vote.
New Election Threats Posed by Big Data/Microtargeting/Psy-Ops Tower Over Primitive Russian Social Media Strategies
Recent revelations surrounding the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal underscore the expanding scope of election interference. The scandal represents a disturbing convergence of a massive data privacy violation with a “military-style”, “full-scale propaganda machine”, as described by whistleblower Christopher Wiley.
The cutting-edge tactics of the Cambridge Analytica scandal make alleged Russian social media meddling look primitive and insignificant by comparison. Cambridge Analytica is accused of using without permission the private information of up to 87 million people, assembling thousands of data points on individuals to craft micro-targeted messages in a campaign of mass manipulation with the scale and sophistication of military-style psy-ops. The actions of the Russian Internet Research Agency, on the other hand, appear to be the opposite of sophisticated and strategic. The lack of targeting, timing and relevance of the vast majority of their Facebook ads underscores the doubts expressed by investigative reporters who’ve suggested the Internet Research Agency may in fact be a “click-bait” factory intended to generate advertising revenue, and not an election meddling operation. The insignificant numbers of the Internet Research Agency’s social media posts – compared to the vastness of the social media universe – further diminishes the claim that it had significant impact on the election outcome. Facebook posts from the Internet Research Agency amounted to a mere 0.0004% of total Facebook content; Russian-associated tweets accounted for 0.02% of election related tweets, and Russian-linked Youtube videos had hit totals only in the hundreds, hardly the stuff of viral transmission.
While the full extent of the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal is as yet unknown, the huge quantities of data harnessed for state-of-the-art microtargeting and manipulative messaging suggest that it is the Cambridge Analytica-type threats that truly endanger our elections and demand protections to safeguard our democracy.
We Call for Emergency Commission to Advance Many Urgently-Needed Solutions
Cambridge Analytica is not alone in using this new, malignant form of election interference that combines big data, micro-targeting, and psyops. It adds yet another danger to the existing threats to secure and just elections. To restore confidence in our elections, each type of interference can and must be remedied, but time is short before the 2018 elections. Therefore, we are calling for a nonpartisan, Emergency Commission on Election Protection & Voting Justice to oversee urgently-needed immediate as well as longer-term solutions to ensure a secure and just vote.
We must end voter suppression schemes and ensure the constitutional right to vote. Prior to the 2018 election, we need a rapid transition to paper ballots, especially in the 12 states that still use the most vulnerable electronic machines lacking any paper record whatsoever; cybersecurity best practices, universal rigorous post-election audits, and routine post-election recounts as warranted. Congress has provided substantial funding for cybersecurity in the March, 2018 Congressional budget. The funding should prioritize paper ballots, and be expedited to ensure reforms are in place by the 2018 midterms.
To begin addressing the abuses of big data, micro-targeting and military-style psyops, privacy protections must be created for personal data and internet/social media communications. In the rush to guard against propaganda and “fake news”, however, we must ensure that the rights of free speech and political opposition – increasingly stifled in current social media and conventional press – are restored and protected.
We must also take on the fundamental corruption of our elections that has been so normalized that it’s rarely even discussed: the stranglehold of big money over the entire process. We can break this stranglehold by establishing public financing for political campaigns and free air time for ballot-qualified candidates, which would greatly diminish the cost of political campaigns. We can expand voter choice and end fear-based elections through Ranked Choice Voting, which liberates voters to vote for what they want, instead of against what they dislike. And we can ensure voters are informed about the greater range of choices that they are clamoring for – by creating a new presidential debate commission not controlled by the two establishment parties. For further details see http://www.votingjustice.us .
We Must Also End US Interference in Other Countries’ Elections
To effectively deal with foreign election interference, we must address the fact that the US is not only a victim of election interference, but a leading perpetrator of it as well, whether through nonviolent or violent means. Given our track record, it is simply unrealistic and unethical to expect other countries to respect the sovereignty of foreign elections unless we commit to doing so as well. Effectively ending election interference requires international diplomacy and treaties. The Emergency Commission would provide consistent long-term public education, advocacy and watch-dogging that will be required to overcome resistance to the reforms required to achieve truly fair elections.
We Support Corruption Probe but Decry Misuse of “Russiagate” for Warmongering, Censorship, Political Repression
We support the investigation of potential concrete crimes related to corruption, quid pro quo deals, money laundering, financial conflicts of interest, and obstruction of justice. Such investigations should not be tainted by misuse of “Russiagate” in broader political discourse for the purpose of promoting censorship, warmongering and politically-motivated efforts to intimidate and silence political opposition to the bipartisan political establishment.
The letter we are releasing today from our lead attorney, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, to the Senate Intelligence Committee details how their bipartisan investigation into our campaign – the flagship of an independent opposition political party – intrudes into First Amendment rights protecting freedom of speech and political liberty for all Americans. While we provided documents responsive to the Committee’s requests, we declined to provide Constitutionally protected materials, including the internal policy deliberations of our campaign, the flagship for an opposition political party. This request intrudes into the First Amendment rights of political and associational freedom that are critical to political liberty for all Americans.
Such Constitutional threats add to the dangerous current climate in which progressive political opposition, social movements, and the anti-war community are being targeted with censorship, surveillance and political intimidation. This includes recent censoring of social media and the internet, blacklisting progressive and anti-war media and organizations, restricting the right to protest, expanding surveillance, and disparaging social movements like Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock water protectors, anti-pipeline activists, and the gun control movement as “tools” of “Russian interference”.
“Russiagate” is also being used to argue for aggressive foreign policies, disparage peace advocates and justify massive military expenditures. This is all the more alarming in the setting of the resurgent cold war, accelerating nuclear arms race, and 17 years of unbridled US militarism that has proven disastrous abroad and devastating to human needs at home.
Emergency Commission and Treaty Can Restore Confidence in our Elections & Act As Stepping Stone to International Dialogue for Peace, Nuclear Weapons Ban & Climate Action.
In short, we are endangered by interference in our elections, interference in our civil liberties, by unbridled militarism and needless warmongering. On all these counts, we must defend our imperiled future and the democracy it depends on.
A military-industrial-surveillance complex is now deeply entrenched within the bipartisan political establishment and much of the corporate media. This dangerous juggernaut must not be allowed to twist legitimate concerns about election interference into support for political repression, censorship and warmongering. Instead, we can begin restoring confidence in our democracy right now with a nonpartisan Emergency Commission for Election Protection & Voting Justice and international negotiations for an election non-interference treaty. These should be stepping stones toward broader international dialogue for nuclear disarmament as called for in the recent UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons, for major reductions in military budgets, and for steeply accelerated climate action. These actions would go a long way to actually begin reducing dire threats that endanger not only our democracy, but civilization as we know it. Time is short. We must not be diverted from this task.

By Jill Stein/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The NRA Can Only Be Stopped at the Ballot Box

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Have the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School changed the game? In the wake of the Parkland massacre that killed 17 children and educators, there’s no question the students have changed the national conversation. Survivors of this mass shooting have called “B.S.” on empty Republican pieties – rejecting “thoughts and prayers” and demanding that lawmakers take action to protect children’s lives from guns, instead of protecting their political futures from the wrath of the National Rifle Association.

Image: AP PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH

But Republican lawmakers have so far acted as if nothing has changed. As Parkland survivors looked on in tears, the Florida House this week voted against even debating legislation to curb assault rifles – and then had the audacity to vote to declare porn a threat to public health. President Trump, meanwhile, has decided to champion NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre’s reckless proposal to arm teachers at school.

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No Money, No Vote: How Imposed Fines, Fees and Cost Keep Black People From Voting

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felony disenfranchisementSupporters for a bill that would automatically restore voting rights to convicted felons upon their release from prison hold up signs supporting the bill during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006, in front of the State House in Montgomery, Ala. Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, who is sponsoring the bill, said the current system has created long delays in restoring voting rights to inmates who have already “paid their debt to society.” (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

When a person leaves jail/prison, it is often said that he or she has “paid their debt to society.” But for many ex-offenders, the debt grows even after prison ends. In addition to jail or prison time, many defendants are sentenced to pay fines, costs, fees, or restitution. These financial penalties are legal financial obligations (LFOs). Like any other part of a sentence, the failure to satisfy one’s LFOs has consequences.  When these fees are not paid, the freed offenders lose many rights — including the right to vote. Due to the racial imbalances in the criminal justice system, most of these offenders who lose their rights are African-American.

When someone is convicted of a crime a judge can impose monetary sanctions in addition to jail time. Some courts require the convicted party to pay restitution to the victim or to the state’s victim relief fund. Some courts require repayment of court costs. If a defendant is sentenced to probation, the court may shift some of the supervision costs to the probationer. The amounts of these LFOs are sometimes far from trivial. An American Bar Association article notes that some crimes carry fines of up to $500,000.

According to Dr. Alexes Harris, professor of sociology at the University of Washington and author of “A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor,” it is difficult to assess LFOs on a national level because many jurisdictions are involved. Nevertheless, some figures are available. In Washington state, for example, for each conviction a defendant can expect to incur an average of $1,300 in costs and fees.

Notably, LFOs are not limited to serious crimes. One of Dr. Harris’ reports explains that technically, a traffic ticket is an LFO. LFOs are imposed for crimes ranging from the most severe felonies to the most minor of misdemeanors. Dr. Harris further explained that LFOs know no age limit, as LFOs have been imposed for juvenile infractions.

To fully understand how LFOs impact a person’s ability to vote, one must understand the history of felon disenfranchisement.

Until the Civil War, most states restricted the vote to white males. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited states from using race or color as voting qualifications.  For a brief period during the Reconstruction era, African-Americans in the South voted and elected the first African-American representatives to Congress. The progress, however, was short-lived. Confederate loyalists, still stung by their loss in the war, were not willing to share power with African-Americans. This racial resentment led states to pass laws that made voting more difficult for African-Americans, including felon disenfranchisement laws.

Although felon disenfranchisement was not invented during Reconstruction, prior to the Civil War laws that disenfranchised felons were limited in scope. After enslaved Africans were freed and gained the right to vote, Southern states enacted broader laws that stripped the right to vote for anyone convicted of a felony. Unsurprisingly, the rate of felony convictions for African-Americans skyrocketed at the exact time these broader laws were passed. Some of the new disenfranchisement laws imposed financial penalties.

Currently, in most states, the failure to satisfy LFOs arising from a felony conviction can result in a loss of voting rights.  Moreover, in at least eight states, a person can be prohibited from voting for failure to satisfy misdemeanor obligations.

The loss of the vote may not be automatic.  Although practices vary by jurisdiction, Dr. Harris explained that in Washington, the practice works as follows: if a person misses three LFO payments in a 12-month period the local clerk of court or the victim of the crime can notify the prosecutor. The prosecutor can then petition the court to revoke the individual’s right to vote.

A report by the People’s Action Institute, “Disenfranchised by Debt,” explains the scope of the disenfranchisement issue. According to the report, 30 states have laws that restrict a person’s right to vote until all LFOs have been satisfied. Of the 30, nine have laws that explicitly state that a person’s voting rights will be revoked if LFOs are unpaid. Another 21 states disenfranchise voters in less direct, or de facto, manner. In these states, the laws do not directly state that unpaid LFOs will result in the termination of voting rights. Rather, the laws simply require that prison or probation be completed prior to the restoration of voting rights. However, in these states, probation is not complete until all LFOs have been repaid. Thus, these states have engaged in de facto disenfranchisement.

Paying LFOs can be difficult for many reasons. First, LFOs create a vicious cycle of debt.  Even when the amount assessed is minimal, those impacted may still find it difficult to pay the fees. A criminal record makes it difficult to find work. Without steady employment, the former offender’s ability to pay the fees all but disappears. Even worse, as noted, most jurisdictions charge interest on unpaid balances. Faced with limited employment prospects and an ever-increasing debt, many find paying LFOs to be a seemingly insurmountable task.

Second, LFOs create personal stress. Dr. Harris explained that those laboring under LFO debt experience high levels of anxiety. They stress about returning to jail or losing their driver’s licenses as LFOs go unpaid. The debtor worries about choosing between buying essentials for their families (groceries, prescriptions, utilities, and the like) and paying their court-ordered debts. As the stress mounts, so does the interest on the debt. Stress affects one’s ability to find and keep a job, continuing the cycle of debt.

Finally, Dr. Harris explained that many persons responsible for paying LFOs do not know how their voting rights will be affected by their failure to pay. She noted that in Washington a person with LFO obligations can vote as long as his LFO account is in good standing.  However, during her research she observed that many individuals did not know that they could vote while they continued to pay the LFO.

States know that repayment can be difficult. Therefore, in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, most states have laws that allow a person to argue that she is unable to pay the LFO. Despite this ruling, the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School reports that many states still have laws that, on their face, allow defendants to be jailed without any inquiry into their ability to pay. A report from the Brennan Center for Justice confirmed that these laws are often abused. The report stated, “Despite these constitutional protections … interviews with defenders and court personnel revealed that some jurisdictions ignore the requirement that courts inquire into ability to pay before utilizing debtors’ prison, while many others skirt the edges of the law by failing to evaluate a defendant’s ability to pay until after he or she has been arrested, or even jailed, for criminal justice debt, or by allowing defendants to “volunteer” to be incarcerated.”

Dr. Harris’ research shows that the LFO system has roots in racist practices. She writes: “Charged with fees and fines several times their annual earnings, many southern prisoners [after Reconstruction] were leased by justice officials to corporations who paid their fees in exchange for inmates’ labor in coal and steel mines and on railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Collected fees and fines were used to pay judges’ and sheriffs’ salaries. Monetary sanctions were thus integral to systems of criminal justice, debt bondage, and racial domination in the American South for decades.”

The racial impact of current LFOs is difficult to assess because, again, data must be collected across many jurisdictions. However, using various methods, we can estimate that African Americans are more likely to be adversely impacted by LFOs. First, the racial disparities in the criminal justice system put a higher proportion of African-Americans at risk for financial sanctions.  As the ACLU notes, “The imposition of LFOs … [disproportionately] affects racial and ethnic minorities, because they are [disproportionately] represented among the prisoner population. In 2007, 38% of the nation’s 1.5 million prison inmates were black and 21% were Hispanic, despite the fact that these groups only represent 12% and 15% of the general population, respectively.”  Disproportionate representation means that LFOs have a disproportionate impact on the Black community.

Second, the geography of LFOs makes African-Americans particularly susceptible to them. According to the 2010 Census, the 10 states with the highest African-American populations were California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Of these ten, six have laws that directly or indirectly disenfranchise residents for failure to pay LFOs. Similarly, most of the states with laws that directly provide for revocation of voting rights for failure to pay an LFO are in the South. Census data show that 55 percent of African-Americans live in Southern states.

LFO-graphic-600x436

Finally, though each jurisdiction is different when LFOs are studied on the state and local level, race is usually a factor. For instance, a recent study found that in Alabama, Black voters were more likely whites to have unpaid LFOs and more likely to be stripped of their voting rights based on the failure to pay. While 30 percent of white Alabamans with LFOs were denied voting rights, for African-Americans the number was 56 percent.

When it comes to LFOs, the old adage “let the punishment fit the crime” is appropriate. Although most would agree that it is fair for society to punish those who break its laws, the same people would also agree that the punishment should end at some point.  Those struggling to pay LFOs are punished unceasingly until their obligations are paid off.  Efforts to reform laws to restrict or eliminate LFOs are underway. The African-American community will benefit from the repeal of these laws because LFOs impose a cost on the community that it can no longer afford.

By Nareissa Smith/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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