Yes, felons can vote here

September 25, 2008
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Indiana may have made national headlines for its strict voter ID laws this year, but when it comes to felons being able to vote, Indiana is one of the better states in the country.

In Indiana, imprisoned felons can’t vote, but once they are released from confinement they are eligible to register to vote. Those on probation or parole can also vote here, as is the case in all of our neighboring states – except Kentucky.

In Kentucky, a convicted felon who has completed his or her sentence can’t vote unless he or she petitions to the governor to restore their voting rights. That’s just insane. People who have “served their debt to society” should be able to vote in elections without asking the governor to let them.

There is a misconception by the general public that once you’ve been to prison, you can’t vote anymore. No wonder there are numerous groups around the country pushing to get the word out to convicted felons out of prison that they can vote, depending on the state they live in. Here, there is one group in Fort Wayne – the Grassroots Effort Committee For Change – that is trying to recruit more than 500 volunteers to educate the population and register felon voters.

There’s no denying the hype surrounding this year’s presidential election, and it’s there for good reason. This year will be historic – we’ll have either the first African-American president or the first woman vice president. Plus, with the state of the nation right now, whoever is elected president will have a chance to help our economy, address health-care issues, dictate what happens with our troops in the Middle East, probably appoint a Supreme Court justice or two, and determine in what direction our country will head.

Just as there are campaigns to get the word out to the general public about needing a picture ID to vote, there should be campaigns to let felons who have served their time know they can vote, too. As we saw in the close presidential race of 2000, every vote matters.
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