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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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