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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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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