Alabama SOS Defends Against Argument that State Felon Disenfranchisement Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Kira Lerner for Think Progress:

The law still imposes what can be considered a poll tax because former felons have to be able to afford to pay their fines and fees to restore their right to vote. “Wealth should not be a factor in deciding who can vote,” Lang said.

The list of felonies included in the bill also does not include things like public corruption and fraud, crimes which are “typically considered to be the crimes closely associated with voting eligibility,” she said. Unsurprisingly, those crimes generally have less of a racial slant than others.

Merrill, Alabama’s Republican secretary of state, was not accepting of arguments that the bill will not go far enough.

“If we had a stand in Anytown, U.S.A. and in that stand on Main Street we’re giving out ice cream,” he said. “Anybody can come. They can only get one cone and it’s vanilla. There’s going to be some people who are gonna cry because they can’t get but one scoop, and there’s gonna be some people who are gonna cry because we don’t have chocolate.”

“I don’t worry about the people who want two scoops and I don’t worry about the people who want a different flavor,” he said.

Voting, unlike receiving free ice cream, is a constitutional right.

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