By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2009, 12:30pm PT  

...For Coleman.

Imagine the round-the-clock phony "outrage" from the Public-air Propagandists (Fund, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) you'd be hearing about "felons voting in the MN Senate race!" had the felon voted for Franken. Such as it is, however, he voted for Coleman, so it doesn't actually "matter".

But now that we're here, can we finally do away with these stupid restrictions on felons voting? Especially if they're out of jail, as this one was. He was on supervised release, after being convicted and imprisoned in 2004, when he was 20, for having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.

On Election Day, he had left a voice message for his supervisory agent that he was going out to vote, only to come home later to find out from the agent that he had broken the law. He has since pleaded guilty to illegally voting.

"I was just excited that the presidential election was coming up and I would be able to vote," he said. "I had never voted in my life. ... I really wasn't aware that I couldn't vote."

Why should felons --- often more directly affected than most by government laws, good ones or bad ones --- be disallowed from having a voice in the government that makes those laws? Particularly after they've served their time in jail?

I realize that may not be a "politically correct" point of view in many quarters. But I don't care. If you're out of jail, of voting age, able to participate in society, and are bound to the laws of that society, you ought to be able to excercise your voice in that society by being able to cast a vote in a democratically-held election. Period.

I realize that felons, even after release, may have other rights taken from them, but voting doesn't seem as if it should be one of them. If you have an argument to the contrary, of course, I'd certainly be interested in hearing what it is