Day by Day

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Democrats Recruiting Felons?

Gee, who woulda thunk it?

A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons — some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary — to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states.

America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison.

ACT canvassers ask residents which issues are important to them and, if they are not registered, sign them up as voters. They gather telephone numbers and other personal information, such as driver's license numbers or partial Social Security numbers, depending on what a state requires for voter registration.

Felons on probation or parole are ineligible to vote in many states. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, which represents election officials, said he is unaware of any laws against felons registering other people to vote.

Let's just start with problem one, shall we? CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS GOING DOOR TO DOOR? ARE THEY F**CKING HIGH? This has got to be the worst idea since the submarine screen door!

When I was a teenager, my father would pull my aside every so often and give me a little piece of advice. The advice was is as good now as it was then. "David, it's not enough to avoid impropriety. You also must avoid the APPEARANCE of impropriety." If I hang out with rapists, drink some beers, go over to their house, play some cards with them, and invite them over to my house, it doesn't matter if I don't rape anyone. The APPEARENCE is there, and that is what will stick in people's minds. There's a reason why character witnesses are called to testify in court. Character counts, and people judge your character partly based on the appearence you give to the world. Guilt by association.

Problem two: The majority of criminals re-offend. Sorry if that bothers anyone, but it's a proven fact. Most felons don't commit one crime and quit, they build up to it and continue the pattern of behavior. Giving convicted felons access to private information, as well as almost unrestricted freedom with that information, you're bound to have one or two bad apples that will abuse that freedom.

One note: Prior felons who have served their time, finished their parole, and have become productive members of society should no longer be considered felons, in my mind.

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