Written by: Kiel Simmons
Nearly 6 million American felons have NO voting rights. In South Africa, ALL prisoners are granted the right to vote. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, most Americans favor felons being able to vote while on parole.
I, and others like me, often ask why people with felony convictions cannot vote once released from prison/jail? In America, registering to vote and voting is a badge of honor and an indication of one’s adulthood. It represents your ability to make informed decisions as an adult. Essentially, exercising your right to vote is you saying to yourself and the rest of America that you count.
Voting in our community is an important part of creating and sustaining real change. Most people misunderstood the leadership Mr. Larry Hoover sought to instill in the community when introducing the Growth and Development concept. He urged young men and women to put the guns down and pick up the ballots during the 21st century VOTE movements around the country.
Being a felon on parole and having no control over who speaks for me politically is very disturbing. I, like others, pay taxes and am a part of this community and therefore should have a say in who represents my interests. I acknowledge where I went wrong, however if I am to fully integrate back into society, I must be allowed to partake in what is arguably the most crucial process in our democracy.
The repercussions of being injected back into the community without the right to vote are significant. There are so many people on parole/probation in the city of Milwaukee which represents the voice and power we could have to bring resources to our community. In a community that is socially, politically and economically disadvantaged, we cannot afford to have community members that are not fully engaged in solving the problems in our community.