By Roger Clegg & Hans A. von Spakovsky
The Maryland state legislature is back in session, and the Democrats have announced that one of their priorities is overriding Governor Larry Hogan’s veto last year of a bill that would automatically re-enfranchise felons when they are released from prison, even if they are still on parole or probation (Maryland already automatically re-enfranchises felons once they are no longer on probation or parole). Governor Hogan is adamant that this is a bad bill.
And Governor Hogan is right, so here’s hoping that the veto-override effort fails.
If you aren’t willing to follow the law yourself, then you can’t demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. We don’t let everyone vote — not children, not non-citizens, not the mentally incompetent, and not felons — because we have certain objective, minimum standards of responsibility and commitment to our laws that must be met before someone is given a role in the solemn enterprise of self-government. People who have committed a serious crime against their fellow citizens don’t meet those standards.
The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she has really turned over a new leaf, not automatically on the day someone walks out of prison — let alone when parole and probation have not yet been served. After all, the unfortunate truth is that most people who walk out of prison will be walking back in. Deep down, the Left knows all this; that’s why, though it is happy to let felons vote, it is somehow reluctant to restore their Second Amendment rights.